Uruguayan FA Board Execs Resign Following Last Week's Fight; FIFA Could Investigate
On Monday, a "storm seemed to be unleashed with all its fury" on the Uruguayan FA (AUF), as AUF President Sebastián Bauzá and the other four leaders of the exec board resigned after Uruguay President José Mujica decided last Thursday "to withdraw the police presence" from two of Montevideo's principal stadiums, according to EL PAIS. Mujica's decision "was a reaction to a fight during a Copa Libertadores match last week that left dozens injured," and the move forced the suspension of a match scheduled for Sunday. Now, "FIFA will closely follow what is happening, with the threat that the body could leave Uruguay out of the World Cup" (EL PAIS, 3/31). EL PAIS reported in a separate piece Mujica held a meeting on Tuesday to address the topic of security at the "two stadiums from which he had withdrawn the police presence." During that meeting, "Uruguayan side Nacional President Eduardo Ache and Peñarol President Juan Pedro Damiani, as well as authorities from the Uruguayan Players' Association, were all present." Mujica, for his part, "denied that there would be FIFA sanctions for the government's involvement" (EL PAIS, 3/31). Peñarol VP Edgar Welker said, "It seems nonsensical to me that the executive committee resigns two months before the World Cup, because the big loser here could be the national team" (ESPN, 4/1).
CONMEBOL PRESIDENT WEIGHS IN: REUTERS' Malena Castaldi reported Bauzá said in his resignation letter, "The well publicised acts that have occurred in recent times show the need for (the AUF board to take) a step to one side and allow other political views to govern our football." CONMEBOL President Eugenio Figueredo, a Uruguayan, said that he "knew of no FIFA investigation into the AUF." Figueredo: "I'm totally unaware (of this FIFA story). The truth is I have no news from CONMEBOL or FIFA. You can't draw conclusions from a rumor. When governments intervene, a national association is provisionally suspended (by FIFA)... But I have no proof the government played a part in Bauzá's exit." Figueredo added, "The World Cup is already on top of us. Can you imagine a national association being suspended (now) for an internal or sports politics matter? FIFA is a bit more serious. I don't think Uruguay's place at the World Cup is at risk" (REUTERS, 3/31).
FIFA DECLINES COMMENT: LOS ANDES reported a FIFA spokesperson said, "At the moment, FIFA has not been officially informed of the situation regarding the Uruguayan FA. Therefore, we will not comment on this" (LOS ANDES, 4/1).