By Juan Arango
In part two of the interview with director Pablo Tesoriere about his latest documentary Fútbol Violencia, S.A. as well as the current situation in Argentine football.
Tesoriere’s passion for both making documentaries and invesitagative reporting have brought his this stage in his career where he is able to bring to light even more a problem that is not only plaguing the game in Argentina, but society itself.
Tesoriere mentions that this documentary has received lots of great feedback from social groups as well as the Argentine government as well. It has become a documentary that has awakened a great deal of social issues that have been dormant in the public mindset for years.
In this part we talk about the involvement of the media and the political figures in the the promulgation of violence. Tesoriere also talks about some of the solutions (or at least the first step) towards eradicating this problem.
Tesoriere also talks about how the phenomenon of the the Barrabrava in Argentina has changed and it can no longer be compared to the Hooligans in England. Their social ramifications have changed drastically and are no longer the same if you start to look at what these two fan “models” represent in the overall picture of the game domestically and internationally.
But there is a light at the end of the tunnel at least for Tesoriere… a very small light.
Juan Arango: When you mentioned that the media and politicians were involved in the violence what do you mean by that?
Pablo Tesoriere: The violence that (Argentina) is going through has a lot of responsible parties. In football the main culprits have to be the clubs as well as the media. Violence and sex sell papers. Club executives also know that by having these individuals on their side, they are able to stay in power. The mainstream media is also guilty of it as they do not follow up on the incidents that occur in the stadiums. They are always there when they occur and they have to sell paper, but as far as truly investigating, only a few independent journalists really go to that extreme.
There was also a paper in Rosario that was notorious for being involved with the supporters of Rosario Central and they would do their bidding to “create news”.
Politically, barrabravas vote in blocks. All of them vote for the candidate that is going to give them the greatest amount of concessions. Add to that a group of apathetic club members and chances are that the barrabravas are the ones that make the difference in a club election.
Newell’s Old Boys was a prime example. For almost an entire decade Eduardo Lopez ruled the club with an iron fist and literally did as he pleased because the club was at his mercy. With the Barrabravas at his side, he did his bidding and literally ran the club into the ground financially.
Then in 2008, the fans began to take the club back and eventually Guillermo Lorente was elected to rebuild the club. This was the first step to seeing the fans start to take the club back from those hands. Another example was that of River Plate. Under José María Aguilar, the club endd up at the edge of bankruptcy and the team saw themselves fighting in the promotion and relegation race. Then the controversial, yet historic elections at the club took place. Daniel Passarella took the presidency in the closest election ever.
JA: What did you think about the fiasco that took place during those elections?
PT: One thing that was a positive was to see so many River fans come out. River’s elections are a reflection of Argentine society in that we as a country are apathetic. We take too long to protest, but when we do, we make it happen. In 2001, the people got fed up and that forced (then-president) Fernando de la Rúa to step down. At River, the club members saw that they had to get their club back after the Aguilar disaster.
JA: So then it’s a positive step?
PT: It is, but as it’s a positive step in the right direction, there are several other things that we have to do here in order to eradicate the problem. Another reflection of society is the violence. What we really have to start to do is educate. The educational system here is in crisis and when that started to fail, then everything else started to as well.
JA: Ok, so what is the difference between these Argentine barrabravas and, let’s say, the English hooligans?
PT: The situation is much more severe with the barrabravas than it ever was with the hooligans. Being a barrabrava is now a full-time job. In England, several hooligans had a job outside of the game. They all had jobs in various professions. Meanwhile in Argentina, being a barrabrava is a “profession” of sorts. There are economic ramifications that are part of their “job description”. The “barras” go to the clubs to get a job or to have a position within the club. They look for the club to maintain them and be able to give them compensation for supporting the team. In exchange they would be the muscle that club directors would need so they can stay in power.
They are the shock troops of the club presidents and directors. These are the players that enforce policies in numbers and through bully tactics.
The recent incidents that occurred in South Africa where various barrabravas were deported or not even admitted into South Africa exposed the severity of the matter. In South Africa they enforced the Right of Admission. In Argentina that has never occurred.
The clubs or even the justice system did not punish them for committing crimes in the past. There were several that were being accused of crime ranging from extortion to even murder and they were allowed to leave the country without a problem.
So if there is not a repercussion in that aspect, what can we expect.
JA: Let me change the situation here. What would you think needs to be done in Argentina in order to eradicate the problem?
PT: As I mention before, education has to be the key. As a society we are seeing that we are not being able to educate our kids and our eventual fan base. It’s also a first step towards educating our justice system.
The Argentine police has been notorious for either being too brutal when dealing with incidents or they have turned the other way. The first scenario is one that takes us back to the days in which the military junta would use the police to reprimand and repress the people. That dark cloud still hangs over Argentine society.
There are also time when they look the other way and in other cases, they are in cahoots with the criminals. We see that all the time in modern-day Argentina.
If we take that direction, then other things can begin to work themselves out, such as The documentary, if you look at it content wise, only has about four or five minutes of actual game footage. The reason is obvious. Most of the incidents that occur between fans that there happen outside of the stadium.
It’s also part of our culture to be slick. To try to use our slickness and street smarts to be able to get away with things. We look for ways to get easy money and this is one of the ways that some people in Argentina do it. We have to educate in order to let youngsters understand that there are options and give them those options in the future. As I mentioned before, it is a clear signal that after 40 years, there have been very little changes in Argentine society- and this phenomenon proves it.
***Special thanks to Pablo Tesoriere for the information and material ***