Grondona to step down as Argentina FA chief in 2015
Wednesday, 30 January 2013
January 30 - One of football's most controversial figures, 81-year-old Julio Grondona, has announced that he will step down as chief of the Argentinian Football Association (AFA) in 2015 after 36 years in the role.
Grondona, who is also senior vice-president of FIFA, sai: "I'll fulfil my mandate [which runs until 2015], then younger [men] will come, the new generation of directors to replace me."
Under his guidance, Argentina reached two FIFA World Cup finals, both against West Germany; at Mexico in 1986, which they won 3-2 and four years later at Italy, when they lost 1-0.
Argentina also won two Olympic football gold medals at Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008, as well as silver at Atlanta 1996, and won six FIFA Under-20's World Cup titles.
Grondona co-founded Argentinian Primera Division club Arsenal de Sarandi, named after English club Arsenal, with his brother in 1957, in his home city of Buenos Aires.
Arsenal De Sarandi won their first ever Primera Division title in 2012, becoming the first team to do so that has competed in all five domestic divisions in the country.
The club also named their home stadium in the co-founders honour- the Estadio Julio Humberto Grondona.
His career has not been without controversy however, with the outspoken Argentine sparking fury after making derogatory comments made about Jews in 2003 and again in 2011 when he told a German reporter that he would only vote for England to host the 2018 World Cup "if you give back the Falkland Islands, which belong to us".
"It looks like England is always complaining so please I say will you leave the FIFA family alone, and when you speak, speak with truth." he said, before also calling England "pirates".
"I do not believe a Jew can ever be a referee at this level." ranted Grondona in response to a journalists question about refereeing standards in Argentina.
"It's hard work and, you know, Jews don't like hard work."
Grondona, who reportedly likes to be referred to as "the Godfather", has been embroiled in a bitter row with fallen Argentinian legend Diego Maradona since he fired him from his job as Argentina national coach.
Maradona alleged that the Argentina team were offered "speedy coffee", implying performance-enhancing drugs, prior to World Cup qualifying match against Australia in 1993, before Grondona removed doping measures from the match, claiming the Australians requested it- something that they have always denied.