Argentina vows AFA crisis won’t keep it from Copa

Buenos Aires (AFP) – The troubled Argentine Football Association (AFA) vowed Monday the national team will not miss next month’s Copa America tournament, dismissing concerns over the potential impact of a court ruling against it.

“No one has taken over the AFA and no one is going to remove us from FIFA,” the association’s president, Luis Segura, told a press conference.

“I have no intention of resigning, and there’s no chance Argentina won’t play in the Copa America.”

The comments came after the association was served a court order suspending its planned June 30 elections over alleged irregularities in its books.

The court appointed two “observers” to oversee AFA business for 90 days.

That raised concerns that the association could be sanctioned by FIFA, since world football’s governing body forbids government interference in member associations.

FIFA sanctions could in turn keep Argentina out of the Copa America Centenario, which kicks off Friday in the United States.

The AFA’s executive committee could also call the team home in protest.

Lionel Messi and squad are already in full gear for the Copa, where they are hoping to win Argentina’s first major tournament victory in 23 years.

Segura said the AFA would appeal the court order.

“The AFA is in a complicated, difficult situation, but that’s nothing new,” he said.

The AFA has been left reeling by the death of long-time president Julio Grondona in 2014, which unleashed an internal power struggle, and by the FIFA corruption scandal, which has implicated several figures in the world of Argentine football.

The association is also under investigation for suspected misuse of millions of dollars it received from the Argentine government under a program called Football for All, in which matches were broadcast for free.

The two top contenders vying to succeed Segura as president are labor leader Hugo Moyano and popular television presenter Marcelo Tinelli.

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