South America

Television's growing influence on South American football is reflected by recent developments in Argentina, as described by Peter Hudson

To see what football looks like when it is controlled by television, look no further than Argentina. It is a moot point whether the most powerful man in local football is Julio Grondona, head of the Argentine Football Association, AFA, or Carlos Avila, president of Torneos y Competencias, the company that controls TV rights to the championship. For Avila has used his franchise to build a company that after little more than a decade generates annual revenues of US$210 million and has the clout to match.

The Brazilian league is structured so it's nearly impossible for the big clubs to lose dominance, but Brian Homewood notes that Fluminense have remarkably been relegated

If you want to meet somebody worse off than yourself, get on the next flight to Rio and go and talk to any Fluminense supporter. Fluminense fans have just gone through the agony of seeing their team accomplish the unprecedented feat of getting relegated from the first division of the Brazilian championship for the second year running.

The 1997 Copa America was, well, breathtaking. Brian Homewood tells the story of the tournament

The organization was weird, the refereeing was at best inept and the helping hand given to the host nation was outrageous, but it was still better than watching the Czech Republic and France playing to a goalless draw after extra time.

Brian Homewood explains why the Brazilian authorities continue to be world leaders when it comes to bizarre decision making

During the FIFA International Board’s jaunt down to Rio de Janeiro for their annual meeting (it had originally been scheduled for Belfast but was moved to Rio “as a tribute to Dr João Havelange”), general secretary Sepp Blatter launched into a spiel in which he described his determination to stamp out violence on the field. He could not have chosen a more inappropriate venue for his speech.

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