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News from Argentina while you wait

You may think you missed the start of the Argentine football season, you would be wrong. The league canceled its first week in an effort to save money. The tough economic times hit Argentina as hard as anyone, maybe harder.

Now the AFA is going to break their TV contract to try and double their cash, because even teams like Boca and River are heavily in debt. Sure this all seems fairly innocuous, but in this case things are a little different.

Argentina is often regarded as a top 10 league (I've seen them ranked as high as sixth) and their best clubs are known throughout the world. Boca Juniors, River Plate, Independiente and Racing are truly SuperClubs. Argentine clubs have won Copa Libertadores 21 times and hold the Copa Sudamericana four times since its start in 2002.

There is an interesting twist though to the cause of the debt in Argentina

Boca Juniors, along with other first division clubs such as River Plate, Independiente and Racing, are mired in debt because of broadcast rights, government controls and payments they make to official fan clubs known as "barras bravas."

AFA president Julio Grondona has said seven first division teams and 10 second division clubs owe their players money.

The first division clubs, which have racked up debts of some $184 million, say the world economic downturn has forced them to sell players to European teams for a fraction of their true market value.

Emphasis my own

While American fans are discussing the Corporate v Organic supporters culture, let us all remember that BOTH are used throughout the world. Let's also never see a club fail to make payroll and instead pay its fans.

When 35% of First Division clubs are missing payroll, there is a significant problem. With financial troubles plaguing Scotland as well, there are plenty of players that can move on to fiscally sound leagues, oddly Major League Soccer is one of those right now.

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