What the "El Aissami signing" says about our football league

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B9Lg28zCYAAs2m8.jpg largeIf you follow football closely, you might know that every January is winter-transfer market time. In Venezuela, it wasn’t so different. Yeah, the players involved are not as exciting as those in the Premier League, the Bundesliga or even the MLS, but that’s the deal we’re stuck with.

But days after the market closed, the club Aragua F.C. made a special signing for the Clausura 2015: Aragua State Governor Tareck El Aissami.

No, this isn’t a Chiguire post. The former Interior Minister was already training with the first team for weeks. Even if he’s in his forties, El Aissami really likes the sport, he shows up to the club’s events, and the state government is a major sponsor. Matter of fact, he and his closest collaborators just played a friendly match with the team last December.

Of course the idea of a politician trying luck in football ain’t new: Bolivian President Evo Morales toyed with the idea last year, but quickly discarded it. I guess Mr. El Aissami didn’t have a problem to take his passion to the next level.

But this news, aside from the curiosity (or trolling) factor, comes in a very difficult moment for the Venezuelan football league. Before this annoucement took place, the Venezuelan Professional Footballers Association (AUPFV) informed that they would denounce the local Federation (FVF) to FIFA for its constant inaction regarding the clubs’ failure to fulfill their legal obligations with the players, like paying their social security and working benefits.

It’s no secret that many of our clubs are struggling financially, even if they count on State sponsorships (like PDVSA or States’ governments). Sometimes it literally takes an outside savior to rescue them from total collapse, like Zulia F.C. with former Vinotinto head coach Cesar Farias. But the ongoing economic crisis isn’t the only everyday problem affecting our football clubs. There’s for example, the worrying issue of violence.

After a recent Second Division match in Porlamar with Margarita FC, some players of Estudiantes de Caracas F.C. were attacked in the dressing room and one of them (veteran Uruguayan player Nicolas Massia) was stabbed. Their belongings were robbed during the incident. I’m happy to report that Massia and the others injured are recovering, but this incident is the latest in violent incidents in our stadiums. However, the Federation have washed its hands clean from this with the formal request of… you guess it… special legislation for the matter. Are. You. Kidding. Me?

Other troubling issues are of a logistical nature, like infrastructure and transportation: A match between C.D. Lara and Estudiantes de Merida was suspended after the Andean team suffered a bus accident, which left six wounded. The catch is that the game wasn’t supposed to be at the Metropolitan Stadium in Cabudare, but in San Felipe. Why? C.D. Lara is threatening to move out of the eight-year old stadium, because of what they called “deplorable conditions”. The Lara State Government offered the club to assume full control, but the club thinks it can’t afford the many costs.

With all these problems, the person in charge should take responsbility, right? Guess what? That’s very unlikely, as the head of the FVF Rafael Esquivel is expected to keep the job after 27 years. Looks like he wants to pull a Grondona.

No wonder some have called the combination of all these events “the grayest week for our football in decades”. It’s true that many of the league’s problems are linked to the country’s, but that’s no excuse for the FVF, the clubs, players and fans to put more effort.

I have written in CC about Venezuelan football before, during both good times and bad times. As a football fan myself I would like to support my local league (and club C.D. Lara) more, but shenanigans like this makes it impossible.

1 COMMENT

  1. The Chavista appetite for jobs for which they have no talent or qualification is insatiable.

    Now football… If they do it with baseball I may as well give up my passport.

    ¡Jesseechaconismo al poder!

    • yessychaconismo is chavismo too, don’t forget it, the wax doll was the one that kept that useless morons around no matter how stupid and incapable they were.

      • Jesseechaconismo comes from Chavismo, sure, but it is different because it has no charisma, no magic and (I think) not true hate, ambition or vision; just the desire to hold on to your salary through propaganda.

        Those are important distinctions.

        • Nah, dude, the so called “charisma” in chavismo was more a form of stupid pride and stuborness, both part of the infamous “viveza criolla”, where douchebags take pride in their stupidity, even when they’re sinking in the gutter, they keep claiming themselves to be superior to everybody else.

          It’s important to stop trying to present chavismo as something with any redeeming value, because that would ensure its longevity as a political movement, something that must be avoided at all costs to stop their possible return to power in the future.

  2. Gustavo,

    Speaking about politicians joining unrelated institutions for publicity purposes, what is your opinion on VP’s membership in Socialist International?

    • Voluntad Popular and activists alike are so proud of joining Socialist International, that so far no one has contested the prominent mention of their membership in VP’s Wikipedia article[0].

      “The party’s “fundamental pillars” are progress, democracy, and social action.[4] In December 2014, the party was admitted into the Socialist International.[5]”

      Third paragraph in the introduction passage, the only initially-visible in the site’s mobile version nonetheless.

      [0] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Popular_Will

          • That doesn’t matter, what matters is that alsalami is a corrupt thug that’s abandoned his duties as governor and just keeps sucking money from the people’s pockets and for that he should have his ass hauled into a cell for the next decade, period.

          • And we highlight the importance of these heinous crimes by talking about comparatively benign football publicity stunts? It seems that you’re in disagreement with Gustavo and other sources that prioritize matters differently.

          • We’re talking about alsalami here, not about some made-up guisos about “terrorism and death guarimbas from a bunch of unarmed fags and putas sifrinas” as chavismo has tried to present them to shake their responsibility about the slaughter that happened past year during the protests.

          • What has the arsehole to do with eyebrows?

            So we should celebrate three unconnected anecdotes to reach which conclusion according to you?

            Man, don’t do drugs. They confuse you.

          • “So we should celebrate three unconnected anecdotes to reach which conclusion according to you?”

            They are related in that all parties joined an unrelated institution for publicity purposes.

            Or do you believe the relationship between Tareck an football is analogous to VP’s relationship with socialism is analogous to Tintori’s relationship with Chavez in that Tareck is master footballer and the other two lovelies are marxists?

          • No, they are not related. Don’t make up stuff. No analogies, no nothing.

            In any case, I expect the Aragua FC to be relegated at the end of the season (¡por jalabolas!)

          • Disallowing analogies is akin to disallowing freedom of speech, which is not first world material. This sounds like a retrograde policy of one of those failed socialist states.

            … hey, you know what institution features the word “socialist” in it’s title?

            International Socialist.

            It’s right fucking there.

            The second word.

            International SOCIALIST.

          • No no, please don’t interpret me wrong: you have every right in the world to make an ass of yourself, and you do use that right with unnerving frequency BUT that doesn’t mean we have to buy the crap you produce, mate.

            Don’t confuse gymnastics with magnetics, if you are wrong, and an arsehole, we are totally right to point it to you. I am not confiscating any of your rights, just diagnosing, as you may say.

          • Alejandro, in the spirit of furthering Socialist International’s goals, I think you should refer to me as comrade instead of mate.

          • With a fellow like that on the team, expect the club’s petty cash to disappear in next to no time, if it hasn’t already.

        • Alejandro, dspur is a troll whose mission it is to deviate discussions. Repeatedly. At this point, with repeated deviations, he should be banned. CC has been patient enough.

          • Why would they ban me? I’m not trying to insult my peers as they have accusing me of taking drugs and committing all sorts of reproachable acts.

          • In my opinion you should not be banned, and I hope you will not be (why?). Even if I think you are deluded, you have the right to express yourself at will.

            That’s the whole point.

      • Stop trolling. You know very well that SI is regarded as “bourgeois social-democratic” and “reactionary” by most hardcore leftists. IMO the membership fits VP quite well.

        • “You know very well that SI is regarded as “bourgeois social-democratic” and “reactionary” by most hardcore leftists. IMO the membership fits VP quite well.”

          Could you share this information?

          I would appreciate it.

          Thanks.

        • So when the SI talks against the fachochaburrismo, then they’re the “burgeois”.

          Heheheh, quite the strawman fallacy, you chavecos have excuses for everything xDDD

  3. Let’s look at this for what it is. Our families stand in line for food and medicine (if it can be found) while elitist leaders of the country have vanity events with soccer teams.
    It won’t be long until the masses figure things out and throw these bastards out.
    Tick Tock.

  4. It reminds me of a quote from Marx where the unalienated man, free from the division of labour of capitalism, can be a butcher in the morning, a baker at noon, and a cabinet maker in the afternoon, according to his wishes. Socialism has liberated Tareck El Aiassimi!

  5. Since some time now the local football league stopped growing and began losing ground, I think the players are putting the best effort they can, but (violent crowd culture aside) I think the central problem with our league is the way it gets money. The league will never be sustainable if its purpose is to give jobs to chavista family or bigfish as club directives, it needs to grow organically from private iniciative, it should never be any goverment’s priority to spend state’s money on clubs. There are great iniciatives like Lacava’s “Puerto Cabello Te Quiero” academy, but what will happen to it if he loses power, or fall in hate with psuv, there can be no stability nor sustainability this way.

    Since the private sector is in no position to help the clubs right now, I would say the only way for the league to improve during crisis time would be to shrink the number of clubs to 12 or 10 on 6 month 2-legged short tournaments so they can focus the little money there is on quality instead of quantity.

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