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Gambling a Solution to Argentine Woes?

  • SI.com, Wednesday, July 29, 2009 3:02 PM
The Argentine soccer federation (AFA) has decided to push back the start of the top-flight Apertura tournament because of the financial problems facing a number of clubs. A players union has listed seven clubs that have debts totaling $10 million: San Lorenzo, River Plate, Independiente, Newell's, Huracan, Racing Club and Rosario Central.

"All the AFA tournaments are postponed until the Argentine Players Union gives the OK to lift the restrictions,'' Ernesto Cherquis Bialo, the AFA press coordinator, said. The global economic crisis has hurt Argentine clubs, which depend on large player fees from rich European clubs. With the AFA unwilling to lend financial aid, clubs need to look for other streams of revenue. AFA president Julio Grondona acknowledged that internet betting might prove one solution. And he said he has asked for an urgent meeting with Argentina President Cristina Fernandez to discuss how the government and the AFA might share in the revenue.

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