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Sun Mar 12, 2017, 11:08 PM

Why did Argentina's players go on strike? And how did it get resolved?

The second half of the 2016-17 season was supposed to get underway in Argentina on March 3. Instead, after a week of arguments and confusion, the weekend's top-flight fixtures were called off late that day, even after the first two games should have been played.

After days of protracted and difficult negotiations, the players' union and Argentine Football Association (AFA) eventually signed a deal to end the strike around lunchtime on Wednesday, March 8, and Thursday night first division football resumed with an 89th minute goal by Mariano Pavone that gave Vélez Sarsfield (of Buenos Aires) a 3-2 home win over Estudiantes de La Plata.

Why did the players go on strike?

Late last Thursday night, the players' union Futbolistas Argentinos Agremiados voted to strike for the weekend games over unpaid wages. Not all players are owed money - River Plate's treasurer confirmed to ESPN FC that their squad's wage bill is up to date, for example - but those who had been paid chose to stand with those who hadn't.

Agremiados wrote an open letter to the AFA when they first threatened strike action saying that "numerous clubs owe salaries, in some cases dating back four months."

In short, in most cases the money didn't seem to be there. In mid-January, the AFA published a list of 14 clubs (out of 60 professional clubs) who would be forbidden from registering new signings until their debts with the association were paid off. Some 30 clubs owe the AFA a total of 1.1 billion pesos ($70 million) between them.

Among the causes for this sudden shortfall are a sharp decline in stadium revenues during 2016, coupled with higher overhead costs, as a sharp devaluation and austerity policies decreed by President Mauricio Macri have led to a nearly 10-fold hike in public utility rates and higher inflation in general.

Football for none

AFA finances have also been impacted by Macri's decision to discontinue the Fútbol Para Todos (Football For All) TV-rights-as-state-subsidy program, which resulted in a 350 million peso ($22 million) unpaid debt on the part of the federal government plus 40 million pesos ($2.5 million) from the program's chief private sponsor, local oil firm Axion Energy. Once the strike was announced, Macri ordered payment of said debt.

Enacted by former President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner in 2009, the program nationalized TV rights for professional football and made game broadcasts, which had previously been available mostly to cable subscribers willing to pay pay-per-view fees, universally available.

Budgeted at $180 million annually, Football For All (FPT) was often criticized by opponents for its cost - particularly the media conglomerate Clarín Group, which controlled the top private sports broadcaster in Argentina (TyC) and which frequently made use of its cable and print news arms to lambaste the program.

Its supporters, however, pointed out that the cost per viewer (72 U.S. cents each for 250 million+ viewers annually) was a small fraction of pay-per-view fees that ranged from 15 to 30 dollars per game. Argentines, most of whom are avid football fans, often organized at-home tailgates or crowded their nearest bar.

The quality of the broadcasts themselves - which before FPT often deliberately refrained from showing goals in order to force viewers to watch the post-game analysis shows - likewise improved.

The government's rescission of FPT has meanwhile opened Argentine football broadcasting to bids from private companies again and three broadcasting giants (ESPN, Fox Sports, and Spanish group Mediapro) are currently having their bids analyzed. A 1.2 billion peso ($75 million) advance "key" payment for the broadcast rights is built into all three bids, further bolstering financial prospects for the AFA.

At: http://www.espnfc.com/blog/espn-fc-united-blog/68/post/3074116/argentina-season-missed-restart-date-due-to-players-strike-and-here-is-what-you-need-to-know

[center]

Facing pay-per-view charges of 30 dollars a game, crowded bars were a common sight in Argentina on football nights until the state-run FPT broadcasts were enacted in 2009.

Macri, elected largely thanks to corporate media support, has now reinstated pay-per-view.[/center]

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Reply Why did Argentina's players go on strike? And how did it get resolved? (Original post)
tenorly Mar 2017 OP
Judi Lynn Mar 2017 #1
tenorly Mar 2017 #2

Response to tenorly (Original post)

Sun Mar 12, 2017, 11:29 PM

1. Astonishing, flagrant, in-your-face acts of greed. Why? Because they can.

Sure hope this will quicken the resistance to these fascist clowns. They are leaving no stone unturned.

Each greedy Presidential act is so completely despicable.

Thank you.

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Response to Judi Lynn (Reply #1)

Sun Mar 12, 2017, 11:57 PM

2. You're not kidding. It's another stealth tax increase, really - as well as payback for Clarin.

The Clarín Media Group, you see, is co-owner of the Torneos (formerly TyC) sports broadcaster - which formed a joint venture with Turner and Fox Sports to take part in the above-mentioned bidding.

They stand to cash in big league if their bid is the one chosen by the AFA.

The former CEO of TyC, Alejandro Burzaco, figured prominently in the 2015 FIFAgate scandal for having paid up to $370 million in bribes to FIFA officials over 12 years to secure lucrative broadcast rights. Former Attorney General Loretta Lynch had him arrested and extradited to the U.S., where he's still under house arrest in New York.

Don't be surprised if Trump has the FBI drop charges against him in the near future, probably after Macri visits Washington this Spring.

And I'm sure he'll broach the subject: Burzaco's briother, Eugenio, is Macri's Security Minister.

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