Maradona to the rescue? Confidence is not a trait lacked by footballing hero Diego Armando Maradona, and his recent comments over the Argentine Football Association (AFA) show this through and through. “I am going to clean up the AFA and if someone needs to be taken out then I’ll see to it”.
The corruption stories involving the Argentine association are endless, with bad play seeming ten-a-penny over the years. “I want honest people in the AFA — people that haven’t stolen” said Diego. The most recent scandal showed AFA’s accumulation of debt totalling AR $350 million being owed to Primera División clubs through a government funded scheme. This led to the Sergio Marchi, head of the Argentine players’ union concluding that “the championship cannot re-commence” in February.
However this seemingly defeatist attitude from Marchi hasn’t boded well with Maradona. “A change in the football players’ union is coming and its going to be a strong one. I guarantee it. Marchi comes from Grondona (the previous president) … and Grondona died. I don’t want to see Marchi dead, but I want to see him go” expressed Diego, attacking the current setup.
Drawing on his buddy relationship with FIFA’s President Gianni Infantino, Diego stressed he’s under strict orders, “Infanino wants me to deliver the last hammer blow”. Diego’s dream of becoming involved within the system has continued from last November, when he was asking for the spot of Argentina’s FIFA representative.
The current and admittedly poor league setup was not left untouched “We must regulate leagues. We should not show shoddy spectacles like the league of 30 teams (El torneo de 30 equipos)”. The system in place, which is overcrowded and doesn’t function well for deciding relegation and promotion does need to see a change.
“Today I’m fine, I do not have to think about anything, I’m focused on work. I say it with pride: football needs me” said Maradona.