1701201634 The Boca Juniors fight between Macri and Riquelme fails in

The Boca Juniors fight between Macri and Riquelme fails in court

This Tuesday, a court in the city of Buenos Aires suspended the presidential elections of Boca Juniors, one of the most popular sports clubs in Argentina. Around 100,000 people were called to vote to elect the club’s new president: Juan Román Riquelme, current vice-president and one of the ex-footballers most popular with fans, and Andrés Ibarra, an economist supported by the former president of Argentina, former Boca -Chief Mauricio Macri, who entered the race as a candidate for vice president. The judge suspended the elections after accepting a complaint from Ibarra about alleged irregularities in the registration of at least 13,000 voting members during the current government. This means that the second bitterest political fight of the year failed in court without a new date being set.

After far-right Javier Milei’s victory in the November 19 presidential election, Argentina’s attention turned to the Boca Juniors elections. The morbidity caused by the confrontation between the football player who brought the most joy to fans in recent decades and the former political leader who wanted to get rid of him for questioning his authority was only part of it of the stimulus. The fight for Boca was also included in the election campaign.

Milei, who had received the impetus from Macri to defeat the ruling Peronism in the national elections, faced in the final phase of his campaign the Argentine football teams fighting against him for the proposal to exclude the clubs that manage professional football, to convert into joint stock companies open to private capital. More than 100 professional teams rejected the president-elect’s proposal, and among the big ones, Boca Juniors, led by its current president Jorge Ameal and his vice-president Juan Román Riquelme, were particularly critical. “True to its origins and respectful of the clear principles defended for almost 120 years, Boca Juniors reaffirms its character as a non-profit civic association and the premise that our club belongs to its people, members who make it more great every day.” , Boca released in a statement. Milei won the presidential election even though the football teams were against him, and Macri decided to take revenge on the club that had catapulted his political career.

Mauricio MacriMauricio Macri, on November 13, when he presented himself as a candidate for the position of vice-president of Boca Juniors.Juan Ignacio Roncoroni (EFE)

The Macrista candidate’s lawsuit, accepted by a civil court, has punctured one of the club’s biggest problems. Boca Juniors has 315,879 members, according to the Argentine Football Association (AFA), of which nearly 175,000 are considered “affiliated members,” meaning they pay a lower monthly payment than a full member and do not enjoy the same rights. B. the ability to enter the stadium during games or take part in elections. La Bombonera, Boca’s stadium, has a capacity of about 57,200 spectators, and all members pay about $10 a month in hopes of advancing to full membership.

According to the court order that invalidated the elections, around 13,000 supporters changed their category between August and November 2021, thereby skipping the queue, while the monthly number usually does not exceed one hundred. The candidate Andrés Ibarra denounced that there was a political intention behind the “disproportionate growth”: in order to be able to vote, full members had to be 18 years old and have been in service for at least 24 months.

The conflict was uncovered on November 22 after a judicial raid seeking figures about the partners. Then Boca spread on its social networks the official version: according to the current management, the club has fewer members today than in December 2019, when it received the transfer of Macrista Daniel Angelici. They also stated that during this leadership, between 2012 and 2019, the number of active members doubled to 114,665. “The inauspicious moment chosen (…) ten days before the elections for the election of the association’s leadership shows once again that Mr. Andrés Ibarra, candidate of the opposition front, only wants to harm the institution and the electoral process,” it says Explanation .

It was not the first raid against Riquelmista management. In August, following another operation, the vice president’s brother, Cristian Riquelme, was charged with fraud and illicit association over an alleged resale of tickets. He must submit his investigative statement to the court this Wednesday.

For months, Riquelme has denounced a “dirty campaign” by Macrismo, in which the judiciary and the government of the city of Buenos Aires have played an active role. Between the lawsuits and the stadium’s constant lockdowns for “exceeding its capacity,” Riquelme has managed to maintain the narrative that Macri is using his political power to muddy the playing field. There is no shortage of suspicions: Mauricio Macri has been the most powerful man in Buenos Aires since he left Boca’s leadership in 2007 to become mayor of the Argentine capital. He was that way for eight years until he became president in 2015, but his party hasn’t stopped ruling the city. His last dolphin at the head of the Buenos Aires government is none other than his cousin Jorge Macri, who managed to run in the elections last October after a court sent him a pirouette that qualified him, although he had the The most important requirement was not met: being a resident of the city.

“They want to privatize the club and use it for politics,” denounces Riquelme, who was at the top in the polls for the suspended elections. The former idol, the last Boquense captain to win the always longed-for Copa Libertadores, has strengthened in his favor some of the club’s structures: the professional women’s team is the local champion and a major South American competitor, basketball has returned to the Argentine elite, and Men’s professional football is full of homegrown talent. Against him, Riquelme was unable to get the club’s two white elephants under control: expanding the stadium and winning the Copa Libertadores again, which the team last won in 2007.

Ibarra and Macri proposed their solutions. The former president claims to have the means to carry out the reform of La Bombonera and has the medal of having been the president who led Boca to the top of the world at the beginning of this century. His promise includes the return of the player from the club who helped him on the field and who, like no other, is not afraid to raise his voice.