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Argentine Season Suspended Amid Debt, Unrest

  • Reuters, Thursday, August 6, 2009 4:31 PM
As further proof of the extent of the global financial crisis, the Aug. 14 opening of the Argentine First Division's Apertura season has been suspended indefinitely by the Argentine soccer federation (AFA) as it seeks "a solution to clubs' massive debts," according to Reuters.

"The executive committee of the AFA resolved unanimously tonight (Tuesday) that the championships in all categories should not start on the scheduled dates," read a statement posted on the AFA website. Upon receiving the news, a group of around 100 protestors "attacked the AFA headquarters, smashing windows and demanding the resignation of AFA president Julio Grondona."

According to Reuters, "some of Argentina's biggest and most successful clubs are among the major debtors, including former South American champions River Plate, Racing Club and Independiente," with sources saying that clubs collectively "owe the government 300 million Argentine pesos ($78.43 million), on top of debts to the AFA and, to a lesser extent, their own players."

A proposed increase in revenue from TV rights appears to be the only way out of the mess, as "on Monday, the AFA asked that the fee TV companies pay for match rights for this season be revised up to 720 million pesos from the 268 million pesos originally agreed."


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