January 30 - Julio Grondona, president of the Argentinean Football Federation (AFA) has said he will step down from the AFA presidency in 2015, at the end of his current term.
Category: South America
Published on Wednesday, 30 January 2013 11:05
The 81-year-old head of the AFA and FIFA senior vice-president, known as 'The Godfather', has headed the AFA since 1979.
Grondona is also a member of FIFA's Executive Committee, and has been a member of that committee since 1988.
He said in a radio interview that he "is tired", but wants to stay in the job for two more years to maintain his powerful position in FIFA.
"The term is until 2015 and I will meet it. Afterwards there will be younger officials to replace me." said Grondona. "If I didn't have a mandate until 2015 I would leave now."
Argentina have been one of the world's most successful federations under Grondona's leadership reaching two World Cup finals, both against Germany, winning in 1986 and losing in 1990. The county has reached three Olympic finals winning two golds and a silver, and has won six FIFA U-20 World Cups (1979, 1995, 1997, 2001, 2005 and 2007).
Grondona has been named in the various allegations surrounding what is now becoming know as Qatargate, following a report in France Football magazine. A Qatari representative is alleged to have offered to spend millions on pumping up ailing Argentine soccer to gain his vote for Qatar to host the FIFA World Cup 2022.
Grondona has also on occasion caused controversy. In 2003, in response to a journalist's question about referee standards in Argentina, he said: "I do not believe a Jew can ever be a referee at this level. It's hard work and, you know, Jews don't like hard work."
In May 31, 2011, in an interview with German press, when asked about who he voted for to receive the 2018 and 2022 World Cup hosting rights Grondona said, "Yes, I voted for Qatar, because a vote for the US would be like a vote for England, and that is not possible [...] But with the English bid I said: Let us be brief. If you give back the Falkland Islands which belong to us, you will get my vote. They then became sad and left."
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