Argentine Football Association (AFA) rejects privatizing soccer clubs

By November 27, 2023

Buenos Aires, Argentina — Argentina’s soccer federation voted against privatizing club ownership on November 23. 

While the country’s soccer clubs have been historically fan-owned, the recent election of Libertarian Javier Milei — who has proposed allowing clubs to go private — re-initiated debates within the Argentine Football Association (Asociación del Fútbol Argentino).

During a general assembly meeting which took place last week on the outskirts of Buenos Aires, AFA members unanimously rejected allowing clubs to privatize. 

Ahead of the meeting, many clubs had already posted messages on social media rejecting the privatization of soccer clubs after a 2022 video surfaced of Milei backing the idea to privatize the clubs. 

Former right-wing President Mauricio Macri, who backed Milei during the elections and who is also running for the Vice Presidency of Boca Juniors, one of Argentina’s most storied clubs, is also a supporter of the privatization model. 

“Boca would never decide to change, but for other clubs in the country it might be feasible, because they see on television how well European teams that have those types of regulations are doing. So I think the best thing is for each one to choose,” said Macri on November 20.

In Argentina, soccer clubs are owned by the fans, have their own statute and usually host elections regularly for the club members to choose their authorities. Moving to a privately-owned model would remove the members from the decision making process as the club’s rights would be in the hands of private investors.

Soccer clubs are sometimes used as springboards to launch political careers. For example, Macri was elected mayor of Buenos Aires in 2007 after serving 12 years as Boca Juniors’s president.