Thursday, June 2, 2011

Give us back the Malvinas and you can have my vote

FIFA vice-president Julio Grondona - My hands are clean

“I think there is corruption everywhere,” said Argentine Julio Grondona, the head of AFA (Argentine Football Association) and vice-president of FIFA. 

But in an interview with the German press on 31 May he denied personally having taken a bribe during the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bids and confirmed “I have never asked for anything.”

Except that one little time of course when,

“I told the English, look let's be brief, you can have my vote if you return the Malvinas Islands which belong to Argentina.”

Grondona, who has been the head of AFA for the last 32 years, added that upon hearing his offer the English got sad and left. He even confessed in the same interview that he voted for the eventual 2022 victors Qatar because,

"Voting for the US would have been like a vote for the English; and that was not possible."

But if you’re looking for corruption here, you’re looking in the wrong place.

According to Grondona any suspicions of corruption come only from those who do not win. Take the English, whom he referred to as pirates in the interview, 

“They are always complaining. We always have attacks from England and they’re mostly lies supported by journalism which is busier lying than telling the truth. This upsets and disturbs the FIFA family.”

He told the press that FIFA was bound to be a target of this sort of speculation because it is one of the most powerful institutions in the world.

“Before I arrived to the FIFA Finance Commission the English were there, the same who are now demanding transparency. At that time FIFA had $US11 million in the bank, now me an Argentine who does not speak a word of English, has taken that sum to $US1 billion,” he bragged.

He went on to claim that FIFA practices socialism with money, distributing funds all over the world and promoting football so that everyone can have something.

And he rubbished the rumours that bribes of up to $US20million had been paid by Qatar to members of the FIFA executive committee, rubbing his hands and joking that it was all a little too much and that he and his wife were still 'counting through the banknotes.'

Julio Grondona’s rise to power began back in 1957 when inspired by his admiration for London’s Gunners, he founded the Argentine club Arsenal de Sarandí. He then went on to become President of Club Atlético Independiente in the 1970s before taking over at AFA in 1979.

He has fallen out on several occasions with Argentine footballing legend Diego Maradona and caused outrage in 2003 when he responded to journalists by saying 'he didn’t believe a Jew could ever be a referee at this level because it’s hard work and Jews don't like hard work.'

Grondona, who has been a loyal ally of Sepp Blatter, supported the re-election of the FIFA president this week and plainly rejected calls from the FA chairman in England, David Bernstein who led the campaign to postpone the FIFA election on Wednesday in which Blatter was the only candidate.

But though accusations are abound that Qatar may have dished out the odd cash stuffed envelope to get the 2022 World Cup, international football can still cling on to some integrity safe in the knowledge that England, it seems, was not persuaded by Grondona's Islands for a vote proposition. 

The ballot card with only one option - Almost to pathetic to laugh at


  1. Kari ReinikainenJune 3, 2011 at 4:13 AM

    The sagas of FIFA now and the International Olympic Committee a few years back paint a sad picture of these so called sports organisations. De facto accountable to nobody, these princelings seem to run their organsations as private fiefs. Sad, no: disgusting.

  2. I think it's simply down to the fact that Captialism doesn't work inside a governing organisation. Greedy old men make choices for profit and gain, not 'For the Game' and certainly not 'For the world'.