Monday 16 January 2017

Corruption is endemic in soccer-mad Argentina - just like it is in FIFA

Published 10/06/2015 | 02:30

Striker Diego Maradona with then-president Carlos Menem before a charity football match in Argentina in 1989
Striker Diego Maradona with then-president Carlos Menem before a charity football match in Argentina in 1989

In Argentina, football is a religion. If the derby between Boca and River Plate is Easter Sunday Mass, then the Bombonera Stadium, Boca's home, is a Holy Trinity of the Vatican, Lourdes and Fatima - a sacred theatre of dreams, miracles and, depending on the score, extravagant benedictions.

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A couple of weeks ago, I made my own personal Camino to this place of worship. A procession of the faithful moved slowly through the back streets towards the tabernacle, repeating incantations, bonded together by the low murmur of repetitive chanting. In the same way as medieval monastic orders, from Franciscans to Jesuits, distinguished themselves with different coloured habits - the outward signs of inner differences - Boca's devotees are a sea of yellow and blue.

Like all religions, this congregation is bonded together by their own sacred scriptures, myths and mysteries, passed down from father to son.

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