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SPORTS | 01-12-2023 15:18

Boca Juniors election suspended: No agreement between Riquelme and Macri

Elections at Boca Juniors suspended indefinitely after court mediation between teams from Juan Román Riquelme and Mauricio Macri fails.

Boca Juniors' club elections have been suspended indefinitely after a court mediation bid failed on Thursday between the club's current leadership, fronted by football star Juan Román Riquelme, and the opposition, led by former Argentine president Mauricio Macri.

The election was initially scheduled for Sunday and had been suspended by the courts due to irregularities in the roll being reported.

Civil Judge Sonia Abrevaya had called a mediation hearing between the parties on Thursday, but there was no agreement reached.

Riquelme, the club's current vice-president, is the leadership's presidential candidate, Andrés Ibarra, a former minister in Macri's 2015-2019 national government, is running for the opposition, with Macri as his running-mate.

Macri jumped into politics from his post as president of Boca between 1995 and 2007. His group is questioning the presence of 13,664 new active members on the electoral roll.

Riquelme has flatly refused allegations of wrongdoing. The former attacking midfielder is worshipped by supporters and is one of the best Argentine footballers of the last few decades.

Current Xeneize President Jorge Ameal will likely continue in the position until the new electoral date.

 

Front-page news, debate on future

Internal tensions at Boca has become front-page news in Argentina. Riquelme defends the continuity of the club ownership by members, as a not-for-profit civil society, and Macri has long held plans to privatise the club.

An obstacle to Macri’s plan is that the recent meeting of the Argentine Football Association (AFA) – the local game's authorities – that pre-emptively rejected any push to turn local sporting institutions into sporting corporations. 

Riquelme lifted the Libertadores Cup three times with the Xeneize – and Macri was president of the club during that period. They have regularly clashed on a personal level.

After he retired from the sport, Riquelme returned to Boca as a club executive in 2019. Business tycoon Macri accuses him of implementing “an overbearing, arbitrary an authoritarian form of leadership that doesn’t work."

Riquelme, in turn, has accused his rival of persecuting him in the courts and said he was against “others wanting to use the club for politics" – a reference to Macri's relationship with president-elect Javier Milei.

“The decision is between having the choice for Boca to remain a club or having your heart ripped out. That’s the truth,” said the former player.

Macri has returned to national politics after forging a new alliance with Milei, who will be inaugurated on December 10.

 

– TIMES/AFP

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