Thursday, 13 August 2009

Game On

AFA President Julio Grondona may not have been top of the popularity ratings with most football fans although developments this week have seen him recast as a rotund Argentine version of Bob Geldof. Nothing excites your average working man more than football and nothing exorcises him more than having to pay cash to watch his team on the TV. All that may change as the AFA, backed by the clubs and with Government support have broken their current broadcasting contract with Clarin/TyC in a row over increased TV revenues. The clubs need more money to settle debts with palyers and tax bills. It's now open season as to how games will be shown in the coming years but the most likely scenario is rumoured to be a $1.6bn deal from the state over 10 years to broadcast football with games being shown on free to air channels and the remainder sold to other networks. Expect this one to run and run with Contract Law professionals all over Buenos Aires and beyond salivating at the prospect of the forthcoming legal wranglings. Marcelo Bombau - head of TyC has been on the offensive and will be pursuing a multi-million dollar compensation claim against the AFA. Whatever the opinion of TyC's coverage, the way fixtures were spread over 3 nights at weekends or the amount of money they were putting into football there are two parties involved in a contract. It was after all Grondona and the AFA who negotiated the deal. TyC will have invested heavily in resources to broadcast games for the duration of the agreement, they have every right to seek compensation. How long before a club president who backed this action publicly criticises a player for breaking a contract?

It's a widely accepted fact that the current financial mess has been caused as much by club mis-management as by a depressed transfer market, the club presidents will again escape any serious repercussions and Grondona wont have to suffer the embarrassment of taking any action against his friends. Opposition politicians are also critical of the State involving itself in a private contractual dispute although their opinions may differ if in power. The season is now due to start on 21st August - who's going to ensure the extra cash is kept within the game? Stadiums need updating, security needs improving, barras don't need paying and neither do shadowy owners of players contracts. For now the game is on but the same problems remain.

Hasta luego!