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Argentine government to help soccer teams out of difficulties
January 22, 2002

BUENOS AIRES (EFE) - President Eduardo Duhalde plans to help Argentina's soccer teams deal with the crisis that has battered the nation's most popular sport, officials said, confirming that the upcoming season will, in fact, kick off as planned.

Duhalde will back whatever measures are needed to ensure the "solvency and functioning of soccer organizations," Tourism and Sports Secretary Daniel Scioli said at a press conference Tuesday.

The comments came just after talks Duhalde held with a group of club leaders headed by Argentine Soccer Association (AFA) chief Julio Grondona, in which it was decided that the government would audit clubs' finances to keep tabs on their budgets.

Argentina's long-running economic crisis has shown no mercy to soccer organizations, plagued by debts in the millions, and has come to threaten the opening of the soccer season next month.

After the meeting between Duhalde and AFA leaders, Scioli confirmed the start of the official season.

"Stopping soccer is the worst thing that could happen," since it would "only make matters worse," the secretary said.

During the meeting with Duhalde, soccer team representatives expressed concern about the high cost of security and the value-added tax (VAT) on tickets for sporting events - both issues that the government "will address by week's end," Scioli said.

Participants at the meeting agreed to craft new legislation that would provide protections to the game that go beyond those covered by the AFA's own regulations.

"We're excited about the possibility of having a legal framework," AFA Secretary-General Jose Luis Meiszner said. "Soccer has to go outside its own regulations to come under the auspices of a law, and we have found a favorable climate for doing so."

Argentina's sports organizations were hit by the currency devaluation earlier this month, since several clubs have contracts with players in dollars and will have to renegotiate.

One of the teams in financial straits is San Lorenzo, winner of the 2001 Clausura tournament. The team is facing 97 lawsuits, 37 bankruptcy petitions and five injunctions that forbid transfers or signings of players.

Although an outside auditor identified team debt of $46 million, the squad, led by Chilean Manuel Pellegrini, is still scheduled to represent Argentina in the upcoming Libertadores Cup.

So Campeonato as usual ??? :cool:
 

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colocolo said:


So Campeonato as usual ??? :cool:


Can you say "Opium for the masses"? ;)
 
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