Mauricio Macri’s appointment as the new chief of the FIFA Foundation, an offshoot of football's governing body set up in 2018 to "promote positive social change" and improve infrastructure at a grassroots level, has received significant blowback from leading figures in Argentina's footballing community.
The official Superliga Argentina football (SAF) account posted on Twitter that “the SAF, as a member of Argentine football, is concerned by the recent appointment of Mauricio Macri as Executive President of the FIFA Foundation, whose objective is to contribute to the promotion of positive social change."
The Argentine Football Association (AFA) also published a statement in that it was “astonished” by the decision, which it characterised as "inappropriate." Officials also complained that FIFA had not even warned AFA beforehand about the appointment.
Marcelo Tinelli, the popular TV host and president of the San Lorenzo football club, also expressed dismay at the decision.
“I find it unfortunate that a person who, without any modesty and having been PRESIDENT, after having told us he told his collaborators that the markets were not going to give us more money and that we were going to 'shit', today is distinguished in FIFA,” said Tinelli, who recently signed up as a member of President Alberto Fernández's Council Against Hunger programme. “Sad news for those of us who love football.”
Both local giants River Plate and La Boca similarly disagreed with FIFA’s decision, with their club presidents offering in a rare instance of agreement between the two rivals.
“It is unfortunate that the former president who left us with an almost unpayable debt, more than 50% poverty ... enemy of civil societies in football ... and responsible for the last 4 years in the management of Argentine football, has been appointed as head of the FIFA Foundation,” said Rodolfo D’Onofrio, president of River Plate.
La Boca president Jorge Amor Ameal echoed his rival's view. “The AFA is attached to FIFA. The FIFA President should have consulted all the clubs… I don't agree with the appointment at all.”
Many of Macri’s allies, former ministers, and Cabinet members, however, lauded FIFA’s decision.
Among them, Buenos Aires City Mayor Horacio Rodríguez Larreta, ex-Buenos Aires Province governor María Eugenia Vidal, ex-security minister and PRO leader Patricia Bullrich, and former Senate leader Federico Pinedo all expressed their support for the appointment of the former president.