Meet Julio Grondona - the Godfather of FIFA
ANSA journalist Ezequiel F. Moores from Argentina knows him and in a presentation at the Play the Game conference, Julio Grondona seemed to emerge determinedly from the pages of newspapers and instant history to assume a menacing presence with overpowering implications for the future because The Godfather (as he, apparently, likes himself being called) was indicated to be priming his son to eventually take over from himself.
The president of the Argentine football federation, suggested Moores, had reduced football administration to a sorry farce, at home and away from there, simply by gaining control, Joao Havelange-style, of FIFA's purse-strings.
As if it isn't enough that he has contrived his own, football-centric ways of rolling in the stuff, FIFA makes sure he is in the lap of luxury when on tour. He is the one, after all, who sews up the worldwide organisation's megabuck business deals with bluechip corporate houses and television, certainly not without knowing which side his own bread is buttered.
And what is an Open Sesame in Switzerland is just the same back home as well for him, where he favours TYC - the television network that shows Argentine football in a comprehensive package inclusive of the country's World Cup matches - and it greases his palms periodically, profitably.Reports of cash-filled envelopes being handed to him are about as common as attention-stopping photographs on sport pages. His clout is unrivalled. When he takes the GOAL project to a place associated with his very humble beginnings, he plays Santa Clause, secure in the knowledge that no one would question his judgment.
When he chooses to be the administrative bull in the game's china house ("No team can win the Argentine championship without his consent," said Moores), he is like Uncle Sam. When matches are to be given the twist of pre-determined supervision, he is the god who has never failed.
Moores said that TYC being Argentina's biggest multi-media conglomerate, there was no way you could take aim at him journalistically. He'll always brazen it out, going to the extent of telling disapproving interlocutors that they could choose "between chicken and rice and rice and chicken."
In short, the sort of man you would never want within kicking distance of a football pitch but there he's, quite unfortunately for others, bang in the middle of the field with the whistle in his hand.
ANSA journalist Ezequiel F. Moores from Argentina talked about the unknown but extremely powerful FIFA executive, Julio Grondona.
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