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Page last updated at 10:26 GMT, Wednesday, 5 August 2009 11:26 UK

Argentine football halted by debt

Boca Juniors midfielder Juan Roman Riquelme (left) vies for the ball with River Plate defender Gustavo Cabral during a Superclasico derby between the two Argentine clubs in 2008
Clubs such as Boca Juniors (left) and River Plate are affected by the delay

The start of the football season in Argentina has been delayed indefinitely because many of the clubs involved are heavily in debt.

The season had been due to kick off on 14 August, but the Argentine Football Association (AFA) said some clubs did not have enough money to pay players.

AFA President Julio Grondona said the situation was "very difficult".

Last week, clubs in the second division had the start of their season postponed for similar reasons.

"The executive committee of the AFA resolved unanimously tonight that the championships in all categories should not start on the scheduled dates," said a statement posted on the AFA website late on Tuesday.

The organisation said it was continuing to look for "a substantive solution" to the financial problems facing the clubs and that their decision "will not affect intelligent and dignified meetings to seek a solution satisfactory to both parties".

But the AFA said Argentina's involvement in the Copa Sudamericana, the regional South Americas tournament, would not be affected.

A friendly between Argentina and Russia on 12 August will also go ahead.

Argentine officials say the global economic crisis has had a big impact on clubs in the country, because they depend heavily on rich European teams buying their players.

Mr Grondona said an increase in revenue from television rights could help to ease the AFA's problems but had so far not been secured.

"The available resources cannot meet expenses. The situation is very difficult," he said.


Read some of your comments about this story:

I am currently on holidays here in Buenos Aires visiting my family and I have to say that the local reaction to the footy situation has been somewhat muted. Newspapers and news programmes rarely give the issue more than a few minutes/pages´ worth of attention. It seems the country is preoccupied with other things such as the state of its economy and the recent bout of swine flu that has hit the capital. As a die-hard fan of Argie football I have to say that it will seem extremely strange to kick off mid August with no matches and for a country that is as football-mad as this one, I think popular opinion will soon force the club directors to get their thumbs out, and start playing again. Vamo Bocaaaaa!!!!!!
Alessio, Buenos Aires / London

When I was I child my football heroes lived and played here in Argentina, Bochini, Valencia, Alonso... Only a few "cracks" played in Europe. But today children who love football seemed to prefer footballs heroes who they saw in TV or in the electronic family games. Today, children and obviously their parents prefer to sit at sofa and see Ronaldo, Messi, Drogba playing in the TV than risking their lives going to extremely dangerous "canchas"
Juan Alba, Ushuaia, Argentina

I am a football fan living in Buenos Aires. I have been enjoying the football here as a fan, and I have been lucky enough to get a job working as a tour guide at Boca Juniors' games. It amuses me that, in a world where Manchester United and Liverpool are allowed to amass huge debts, Boca, River Plate, and others are being crippled by debts in the region of US$35 million. It seems to me that AFA, and longstanding boss Grondona, are looking for more TV money. This is a mere peak at the crazy goings on of Argentine football.
Dermot Twomey, Buenos Aires, Argentina

As an expat Englishman who has lived in Buenos Aires for 16 months and a Boca Juniors fan this is big let down. However, it's not a huge shock given the state of football in South America in general. I should be used to chaos though being a supporter of Luton Town, my home town club!
Anthony Bunyan, Buenos Aires, Argentina

I'm a football fun but the delay won't affect my life. The football's administration is too bad. Football managers want to pay more than clubs can earn so they have these kind of problem now.
Marcelo, Buenos Aires, Argentina

I am upset with that no football will take place. I will have nothing to do. I love Veron.
Pedro Mendez, Argentina

I am a Boca Juniors supporter, I hope it will go ahead. I am going there for five months to follow the team. Hope they will sort it out soon.
Puggey, Machynlleth, Wales, UK



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Country profile: Argentina
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