Martino quits as Argentina coach
Gerardo “Tata” Martino today resigned as coach of Argentina’s national team less than one month before the beginning of the Rio Olympic Games.
Sources said Martino decided to leave due to the current crisis in the Argentine Football Association (AFA).
Earlier today the president of the Argentine Olympic Committee, Gerardo Werthein, said chances that Argentina could be taking its national football team to Rio were only at “50 percent.”
Martino's esignation comes after Argentina's loss to Chile in the regional Copa America tournament final late last month. It was the second consecutive time the group led by captain Lionel Messi reached the tournament's final.
"In the 120 minutes, in a very high quality game where the two teams neutralised each other more than play, the one who I think should have won was Argentina," said Martino at a press conference after the game.
After the defeat, it was Messi who announced he was quitting the team.
The five-time World Player of the Year played in three Copa America finals, in 2007, 2015, and 2016, as well as in the 2014 World Cup final, losing every time. During the finals match with rival Chile this year, he missed Argentina's opening penalty in the shootout after the game ended 0-0 and was in tears sitting near the team dugout.
"I think this is it. It's over for me on the team," he told reporters shortly after the match.
FIFA put the crisis-torn Argentine AFA under the administration of a committee to put its house in order and prepare it for presidential elections, world soccer’s governing body announced two weeks ago.
The AFA, run as a personal fiefdom by the late Julio Grondona for 35 years until his death in 2014, has since been immersed in a financial and governance crisis.
"This committee will administer the AFA’s daily activities, check its statutes to adapt them to the latest version of FIFA’s Model Statutes and organize elections by June 30, 2017 at the latest," FIFA said in a statement on its website.
Grondona’s successor Luis Segura has automatically ceased to be AFA president with his place taken on an interim basis by AFA secretary Damian Dupiellet until the election of a new chairman and board.
An election held one year after Grondona’s death ended in farce with a 38-38 tie between the two candidates, Segura and TV entrepreneur and show host Marcelo Tinelli, when only 75 delegates had a vote.
"The decision to set up this committee was taken after a joint FIFA and (South American) CONMEBOL mission visited AFA headquarters at the beginning of the month," FIFA said.
A judge earlier in June ordered a lawyer and an accountant to be installed at the AFA for three months to look at alleged irregularities in its management of match broadcasting funds.
The order included suspending a proposed AFA election on June 30.