Argentina’s football president dies

Mr Grondona with President Fernandez de Kirchner 2009 after a government takeover of TV rights to soccer games


Julio Grondona, the Argentine Football Association (AFA) president, has died in Buenos Aires at the age of 82.

Mr Grondona had ruled the AFA for 32 years. Local media reported he had had a heart attack.

A powerful ally of Sepp Blatter, the president of the world football governing body Fifa, Mr Grondona was also a senior Fifa vice president.

During his leadership of AFA, Argentina won the World Cup in 1986 but lost in the final in 1990 and 2014.

In his time in office, Mr Grondona dealt with Argentine presidents of all political hues, including military rulers.

Influential on the national political scene, he held onto power when their governments had collapsed or changed hands.

Known in Argentina as “the Godfather” he had been accused of not doing enough to tackle the “Barra Bravas” – violent organised football hooligans – in Argentine football.

He had argued that the problem was a reflection of the growing violence on the streets of the country.

He was heavily criticised by retired Argentine football star Diego Maradona, who blamed Mr Grondona for the many problems of the national game.

Mr Grondona hired Maradona as the national coach and then dismissed him after Argentina lost in the quarter-final of the 2010 World Cup.

During the 2014 tournament, Maradona responded to being called a “bad luck charm” by Mr Grondona by making an obscene gesture on live TV.

When Fifa became engulfed in corruption allegations in 2011, Mr Grondona railed against the British press, which had published several investigations, calling them and the English “pirates”.

He had been on Fifa’s executive committee since 1988 and had chaired the influential finance committee.

Mr Grondona had said he expected to step down from the AFA in 2015 – but he had also often said the only way he would leave was in a coffin.

Algeria halts football after death

algeria has suspended football indefinitely following the death of Cameroonian player Albert Ebosse, who was hit by a stone thrown by fans.

The Algerian Football Federation made the decision after a meeting on Sunday.

Ebosse, who was 24, was struck on the head when leaving the pitch after his side JS Kabylie’s home defeat by USM Alger in Tizi Ouzou on Saturday

Algerian authorities had already ordered the indefinite closure of the 1st November 1954 stadium

That ruling will now apply to all stadiums in the country.

For years now violence has crept into the stadiums and spills over sometimes onto the streets, bringing with it a climate of fear and insecurity

Algeria’s football federation said in a statement it had postponed the league in protest at the irresponsible actions of certain fanatics and hooligans who resort to violence in the stadiums which has reached an unacceptable level

It added that it was considering taking further action, including the expulsion of the club at fault “from all competitions”.

The governing body has also decided that US$100,000 will be given to Ebosse’s family, plus the amount he would have earned over the period of his contract. In addition, JS Kabylie’s players will each donate a month’s salary.

An investigation into Ebosse’s death, and a deeper inquiry into football hooliganism in the country, has been ordered by the Algerian interior ministry

BBC Sport has learned that the 1st November 1954 stadium was under maintenance at the time of the game and fans threw loose stones that were lying on the ground.

It is understood that one of the key questions to be asked by the investigation will be why the venue was used when construction works were still in progress

The match was only the second round of games in the new season