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SPORTS | 09-01-2020 19:22

Superliga's restart at risk of delay as row erupts over fixtures

Superliga and AFA officials argue over restart, due later this month. As many as 13 clubs seeking postponement of at least two rounds of fixtures, with number of players set to be missing on international duty.

The planned resumption of Argentina’s top-flight football season later this month is in doubt, with a number of clubs seeking to postpone the Superliga’s restart.

Meanwhile, officials from the sport’s local governing bodies seem to be more interested in pointing the finger at each other than finding a resolution.

The Superliga, Argentina’s premier league, is scheduled to restart with on the weekend of January 24, yet some members are seeking a delay with a number of their players set to be missing on international duty. 

Argentina’s national under-23 side will be in action in Colombia from January 18 to February 9, with the Albiceleste facing the hosts, Chile, Ecuador and Venezuela in a key qualifying tournament for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. 

Clubs including Boca Juniors, San Lorenzo, Independiente, Lanús and Huracán have asked that the 17th and 18th round of fixtures of the Superliga be postponed, given their potential absentees. 

In total, as many as four rounds of matches could be affected.

However, the league’s authorities are holding firm, preferring not to adjust the calendar. Sides including River Plate and Talleres are known to have also opposed a potential postponement.

For its part, the Argentine Football Association (AFA) recently weighed in, expressing its dissatisfaction with the Superliga’s authorities. In a statement, AFA expressed its "deep concern" over a lack of consultation with its officials.

Criticising the Superliga’s “unfortunate and arbitrary attitude toward programming,” AFA accused the league’s executives of holding an “evident disinterest and detachment from what our national team means,” in a document signed by AFA President Claudio ‘Chiqui’ Tapia and Executive Secretary Pablo Toviggino.

On Wednesday, Superliga officials hit back, saying that the 24 clubs had committed to a 33-week schedule back in August and saying that FIFA’s competitions were taken into account at the time. 

"The Argentine Superliga defined its calendar with the endorsement of all the representatives of its member institutions,” read a statement from the organisation, which is chaired by Mariano Elizondo.

Dates for fixtures in 2020 were “approved in a timely manner,” the league declared, adding that officials from AFA were previously consulted about the timetable.

Neither the Superliga’s president or the Board of Directors can “reschedule the matches, in the event that this implies the alteration of the dates scheduled for the end of the competitions," a statement from the league’s authorities read.

Andrés Fassi, the president of Córdoba-based Talleres, said Wednesday that it was "a pity" clubs had requested a delay. 

"We had an agreement, in which we were informed of the start [date] and how the championship was going to play out, well in advance," he said.

San Lorenzo President Marcelo Tinelli, however, said that his side wanted to support the national game and that it was "essential" that the fixtures be switched to allow clubs to compensate for their missing players. 

"It is essential to modify that calendar and delay the start, so that all clubs can count on the players called up for the pre-Olympic [tournament],” he posted on Twitter.

According to the Télam state news agency, at least 13 teams are seeking a delay to the restart.

– TIMES/NA/TÉLAM
 

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