River Plate and Boca Juniors are feuding over which institution has more members. The Millionarios and the Xeneizes, as they’re respectively known, are the two biggest names in Argentine football, famous for their battles on the pitch. However, they also fight off it, as shown by their most recent debate over who has the most socios, club members.
River Plate released a report on August 4 regarding the general financial and institutional state of the club. One figure that stood out was a new record-high for club members, 335,945. This was a significant increase compared to the 273,330 members reported by the Argentine Football Federation (AFA) at the end of 2022, placing them not only as the biggest club in Argentina but also as the second in the world, trailing only Germany’s Bayern Munich.
For fans of traditional rivals Boca Juniors, who’ve historically taken pride in being Argentina’s most popular club, this was unacceptable. Xeneize fans flooded social media, poking holes in the announcement and making claims of their own.
One Boca fan showed the email the club sent him confirming he was club member number 361,542, which would theoretically put Boca Juniors socios at nearly 30,000 more than River, although this number has not been confirmed by the club. Others pointed out that River was taking into account members of the “Somos River” club, who are not official club members and do not have access to the same privileges, like attending home games at Más Monumental.
“It’s a huge fake,” a member of the Boca Juniors board said to sports publication Olé. “They are counting Somos River, who are not club members but holders of a benefits card who also pay a much lower [membership fee].” Somos River subscribers are not entitled to home game tickets but can buy any that remain after the socios sale finishes, and also have some discounts at stores that belong to River commercial partners, such as Adidas.
River Plate’s General Secretario Stefano Di Carlo has backed the report’s numbers on social media. According to him, the report only shows members who owed no more than 2 months’ membership fees, while people who were previously a member but had unsubscribed, requested a license or were deceased were excluded from the count, something Di Carlo said was standard practice in other clubs to enlargen member numbers. He also said that every member’s identity had been validated by Argentina’s National People Registry.
“There are strictly 335,945 members who are active and up to date,” Di Carlo tweeted. “River’s consolidation as the most important popular movement in the country is evident and tangible.”