Top newspaper asks Grondona to resign
One of Argentina’s leading newspapers said Friday that Julio
Grondona should resign as the president of the Argentine Football
The newspaper La Nacion, in its main editorial, questioned the
leadership of Grondona and said he should step down after
acknowledging last week that he made sure there was no drug testing
for a World Cup playoff in 1993 between Argentina and
Grondona has headed the AFA for 32 years and is the senior vice
president of FIFA, the No. 2 position behind president Sepp
Daniel Passarella, who coached Argentina and was a member of its
World Cup winning teams in 1978 and 1986, called last month for
Grondona to resign. Passarella is the president of Buenos Aires
club River Plate.
”As the head of the leadership of the sport (in Argentina), his
immediate exit would do football a great favor,” La Nacion wrote,
”and would be the first step toward a progressive renewal of the
leadership with people under less scrutiny and more
The 79-year-old Grondona, known widely as ”Don Julio,” has
made headlines recently.
Former national team coach Diego Maradona said almost two weeks
ago that Grondona did away with drug testing during the 1993 game
against Australia – which Argentina won – and that Argentine
players were provided with ”speedy coffee” to help improve
Grondona has acknowledged there were no drug tests, saying they
were not required at the time. He has not responded to Maradona’s
charges about players being supplied with stimulants.
”Who knows if incorrectly – out of fear that things might
happen – I tried to do away with doping controls because players
came that I don’t have in my country and one can’t know what they
are taking – or just stopped taking,” Grondona said a week ago in
an interview. He said he dropped the test to protect Maradona, who
has had a long history of drug and alcohol abuse.
Grondona and Maradona have been feuding since Grondona dismissed
him as coach following last year’s World Cup. It was Grondona who
”Grondona does not need to clarify anything,” the paper said.
”The president in charge of Argentina’s most popular sport has
made arguments so fragile as to be inadmissible in justifying his
against-the-rule tricks and conduct.”
On Wednesday, in a speech to the FIFA congress to defend
Blatter, Grondona blamed a FIFA bribery scandal on the media in
England. The scandal has seen executive committee members Mohamed
bin Hammam and Jack Warner provisionally suspended, accused of
”We always have attacks from England which are mostly lies with
the support of journalism which is busy lying rather than telling
the truth,” Grondona said. He said England was ”where the insults
and the problems come from.”
Grondona sits on FIFA’s executive committee and also chairs its
At home, Grondona has been under fire for looking the other way
at hooligan violence at Argentina club matches.
The non-profit group ”Let’s Save Football” has documented 13
football-related deaths in just over a year and has also repeatedly
called for Grondona to step down.
Passarella has accused the AFA of enriching itself while leaving
many clubs in debt. River Plate is reported to have debts of about