President Mauricio Macri met with Fernando Marín, the head of Fútbol Para Todos (Football For All), to confirm that the Argentine government will no longer finance the broadcasting of Argentine football.
Over the past year Macri has been making changes to the Kirchnerite initiative, such as handing a couple of games to private TV channels, and now he’s decided it’s time to pull the plug altogether. In order to decrease the financial burden of the broadcast on state funds, the new administration had started running commercial ads at half-time, which served the added purpose of de-politicizing the program, criticized under the Kirchner for its government-friendly advertising.
As Macri began to make these changes, there came suggestions that they were the beginning of a gradual phasing out of FPT. Those suggestions are now a reality as the government will end the program that began in August 2009.
It seems that the president has had quite enough of the financial drain that the program has proved to be and beyond the 1.85 billion pesos that have been promised for the rest of 2016. So it will no longer pay the Argentine Football Association (AFA) a single peso.
Just last week De Andreis was insistent that, despite complaints from the AFA, the government would not increase its allotted funds for the football association.
“It’s easy to come out and demand that the government be a kind of ambulance for the overspending of the AFA,” a government official said last week. News from the Pink House today confirms that Macri will no longer let the government be that ambulance and the AFA will have to resolve its issues itself.
And it certainly has a lot of issues. The government is cutting off funds in the midst of another crisis at AFA, as several clubs have threatened to go on strike after the association failed to transfer the full amount it owes them. The clubs were apparently shocked when the AFA decided to transfer around 30 percent less of what was owed to them.
With the AFA in deep financial crisis and the confirmation that the government will be pulling the plug on FPT, the future of televised Argentine football now enters a period of doubt. The main question plaguing the minds of football fanatics in the coming weeks will be whether we will return to the dark pre-FPT days of pay-per-view football or whether the AFA will be able to find a deal to ensure the continuation of free football for all.