By Juan Arango

Argentine football is on life support. There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that violence and corruption has completely rocked the establishment. The worst part is that the establishment does not realize what is going on.

When AFA president Julio Grondona refuses to be interviewed because there “is no violence in Argentine football.”

It’s a sign of the times many people say, but there is very little realization that this has been going on for years. This is what director Pablo Tesoriere has been trying to mention in his two documentaries Puerta 12 and his latest documentary, Fútbol Violencia, S.A. (Football Violence, Inc.). In his two documentaries he takes on the huge problem that plagues the game in this country for a little over two generations.

Tesoriere talkes about the implementation of FaViFA (Families of the Victims of Argentine Football) and how his documentary has started to recevie acclaim not only by movie critics; but also by people in the know as well regarding this social phenomenon and the inability or lack of desire to get rid of it.

What impacted Tesoriere most about the topic during the research phase of Fútbol Violencia was the proverbial passing of the buck between the government, the police, and the clubs. For years they tossed a hot potato around while nothing was done in one particular case.

Liliana García, founder of FaViFA has an ongoing battle since 1995 with both Argentine and Uruguayan governments after the death of her son Daniel in Montevideo after he went to follow his club in Copa Libertadores play. She attributes the death of her son to the violence generated by fans of Tigre and Deportivo Morón. The Uruguayan government says it is an Argentine issue because it was an incident between Argentine nationals, while the Argentines say it’s a Uruguayan issue because it happened there.

“Pressure? When I was at River Plate and (Rosario) Central they would put a shank to my stomach and say, ‘If you don’t win on Sunday, you’re dead.’ I would hear from the fans behind the goals threten me by saying that they were going to kill my entire family. That’s where I come from. What kind of pressure could there be playing at Barça? They play in a beautiful stadium with 100,000 fans cheering you on, and if they are not pleased with you they take out a white handkerchief?” – Former Barcelona goalkeeper Roberto Bonano

These and many other stories were part of what we spoke about in this interview with Pablo Tesoriere. He gave some deep, yet at the same time commonsensical answers to problems affecting football in Argentina.

Juan Arango: How did this project come to life?

Pablo Tesoriere: The project took about three or four years to work on. I did this around the same time that I was working on Puerta 12 and the tragedy at Cromañon had ocurred. It was obvious that Puerta 12 had lots of similarities to that incident and they ocurred four decades apart. It showed the similarities of Argentine society in general of the past 40 years. There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that this is one of the darkest topics, not only in Argentine football, but in Argentine society as well.

It is quite complicated but there is a great deal that remains that same. Not much has changed since what happened in 1968 to now in Argentina. Fútbol Violencia

JA: What did you learn most and what was the most intriguing about the subject matter you were researching for Fútbol Violencia?

PT: The biggest issue is the fact that no one wants to take responsibility for this problem. The government looks one way. The police either overreact or they let things happen. When they do react, then we start to see that they once again cross the line and bring back memories of the military dictatorship.

There are many people involved in the game and have interests vested in the current situation of the game. Everyone from club directors to politicians to media people are all involved in this situation. They help feed the monster that is currently destroying the game in Argentina.

JA: Futbol Violencia S.A. expone el tema de la violencia en el fútbol, qué se debe de hacer para poder lidiar con éste tema?

PT: All that Fútbol Para Todos was was the monopoly changing hands. First it was one group, now it’s (the government). The problems that led to the implementation of Fútbol Para Todos are still around. The violence and corruption at the club level is still there.

The media also do not go too in depth in this situation, either. They condemn it, but really do not go into full investigative mode- that is unless there is some sort of death that occurs in an incident on the pitch.

The only ones that truly look into these incidents are the independent media. There was a particular case in the city of Rosario where there were individuals that worked in the media that were associated with the Barrabravas of both Newell’s Old Boys and Rosario Central. So like I said, there are lots of people involved in this and they are also part of the reason for all of this going on.


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