Buenos Aires - Julio Grondona, the veteran president of the Argentine Football Association (AFA) and FIFA vice-president, died on Wednesday at the age of 82 in a Buenos Aires clinic, AFA sources have reported.
The all-powerful figure, who had been in charge of Argentine football
since 1979, had been taken to hospital suffering from heart problems
and died while undergoing emergency surgery.
Earlier this week he
had held meetings with Alejandro Sabella, who decided not to continue as
Argentina coach after leading the team to the World Cup final in Brazil
Grondona had been a FIFA Executive member since 1988,
heading its finance committee, and was appointed to the head of AFA nine
years earlier by the country's military government.
He had been
successfully re-elected to continue governing football in the South
American nation every four years since 1979, enjoying the unconditional
support of the country's 22,000 clubs.
His time in charge saw
Argentina win the World Cup in Mexico in 1986, the Copa America in 1991
and 1993 and Olympic gold in 2004 and 2008, while in his earlier years
he founded Arsenal, a club from the Buenos Aires suburb of Sarandi who
emerged recently as a force at the top level.
But his FIFA links have brought regular accusations of scandal.
was recently accused by opponents of President Cristina Kirchner of
diverting millions of dollars of government finance to the AFA in return
for television rights.
Before the last AFA election in 2011,
Carlos Avila, a former associate of Grondona and owner of the TyC Sports
television channel, alleged that the association president had 12
undeclared bank accounts in Europe and the United States.
want to know what I think of Grondona? OK, Grondona is the 'puntero'
(informal military chief) for FIFA," Avila said at the time calling for
"It is public knowledge that Julio has an
absolute power over the management of football. He has always based it
on the poverty of (Argentinian) clubs," he added.
recent World Cup, the AFA was allegedly involved in an international
scandal over the illegal sale of VIP hospitality tickets which was
investigated by Brazilian police.
One ticket found to be illegally
sold was in the name of Humberto Grondona, son of the AFA president.
The son denied involvement in illegal activities though he admits
selling the ticket to a friend. The ticket is not part of the Brazilian