Football is often referred to as a religion in Latin America. Nowhere is this truer than in Argentina.
Unlike most American sports teams, which are almost all privately owned and operated, Argentinian football teams are owned by clubs. Club members elect the teams’ presidents and have a direct say in the direction of the club.
Campaigning for president of a club is a full-on competition. One of Argentina’s most successful clubs, Estudiantes, recently had an election which pitted legends Juan Sebastían Verón and Carlos Bilardo against each other. Verón ended up winning, which allows him to spread his passion for the team to a new generation, but he faces many challenges in front of him.
Argentinian football teams face many challengesFootball is often referred to as a religion in Latin America. Nowhere is this truer than in Argentina.
Estudiantes is in need of a new stadium, and has one in the works, but is having trouble financing it. On a larger scale, many of the Argentinian league’s teams are either bankrupt or nearing bankruptcy.
Barra bravas, the equivalent of English hooligans, have caused fighting and violence at games in recent years, driving attendance down. They also run illegal operations such as the sale of fake merchandise and ticket scalping. Game day violence is how they keep their grip on their profitable business.
To make matters worse, much of the country’s young talent, including superstar Lionel Messi, leaves to play in the more competitive European leagues which drives down the level of competition further.
Correspondent Joel Richards reports on the steps are being taken to improve the situation.