One of the great certainties about life in Uruguay is that, well, there are no certainties. Instead, everywhere you look, there are ambiguities, complexities, idiosyncracies and shades of grey. Only in Uruguay could the Estadio Charrua, which supposedly pays homage to the country’s indigenous peoples, be situated in, of all places, the Parque Rivera: named after the man more responsible than anyone else for their extermination.

And maybe only in Uruguay could a crisis this complex, this convoluted, involving this many different actors, have developed: to the point whereby it’s now threatening to engulf the sport. As they say in Uruguay, es una rosca. As they say in England, it is one great big unholy mess.

A mess centred upon big TV money and violence in football; on power plays and populism; on the endemic links in this country between its national sport (sorry, its national religion) and its political leaders; and which, in an election year, has taken down the best, cleanest, least corrupt leader of the AUF in generations. Sadly, Sebastian Bauza and his Executive Council are likely to be only the initial fall guys of this crisis. The game has barely even kicked off yet.

Hooliganism has plagued Uruguayan club football for many years now. Once upon a time, families could watch Peñarol and Nacional in safety and confidence; but those days have long since passed. Instead, the club game has mutated ever more towards its Argentinian counterpart: increasingly lawless, dangerous to watch or at times even to participate in, ineptly policed, and controlled by ruthless, wealthy club Presidents and media moguls on the one hand; the Barras Bravas on the other.

Hooliganism and Uruguayan football have gone hand in hand for a long time now

Caught in the middle has been a very well-meaning but hopelessly weak, impoverished association: which to its immense credit, has endeavoured to wrest power away from the country’s biggest, most self-interested clubs; establish continuity, stability and a conveyor belt for the national team at all levels; sort out the grassroots structure of the game here; and perhaps above all, even to isolate the always lurking, ever insidious presence of one Francisco ‘Paco’ Casal. Given the odds it faced, the failure of Bauza’s Executive Committee was surely always inevitable; but the fall-out from its departure will be grim indeed.

It’s easy to assume that the origins of this crisis lay in the veritable (though largely unreported) party which awaited scores of Nacional fans at the hands of local hooligans after their side’s 4-0 defeat away to Newell’s Old Boys in February; following which, they vowed revenge. Certainly, this was a key factor which caused the return match to be moved to the Estadio Centenario; as the authorities sought in vain to maintain some degree of control.

Yet in truth, it’s much more complex and goes back far, far further than that. Because as readers of these pages will know, it’s not only Nacional supporters who’ve disgraced themselves in recent times. So have Peñarol’s; so have Danubio’s; so even have many players for the Manyas and Bolsos: including, most recently, during a friendly for heavens sake.

Peñarol and Nacional displaying their brotherly love. In a friendly.

And so, for that matter, have those in charge of the Big Two as well. You’d think, wouldn’t you, that as historic standard bearers of the Uruguayan game, Peñarol and Nacional would display at least a modicum of responsibility for the hooligans amongst their support; demonstrate at least a degree of regard for the overall health of the sport here; have a long term strategy for the future too? But neither do.

Instead, both are consumed by petty politics and chronic short-termism: kowtowing to the thugs amongst their followers, and pursuing greedy power-grabs for themselves, regardless of the consequences. In short, their behaviour is that of two bald men fighting over a comb.

So it was that, as El Tanque Sisley’s match with Peñarol was moved to the Centenario on grounds of security, the response of Nacional President, Eduardo Ache, wasn’t to acknowledge the peculiar circumstances and deepening crisis of violence facing the authorities. Oh no. Instead, it was to complain bitterly of unfair treatment. Why should we have to visit Wanderers, pondered Ache, while the Manyas are granted an extra home game? Why, he might’ve added, have their hooligans been rewarded – but not ours?

As a minimum, Ache’s comments – in which he piled opprobrium onto the AUF and especially the police – upped the ante at the most sensitive of moments. It’s not difficult to conclude that, ahead of the grudge return match with Newell’s, many Nacional fans will have thought to themselves: “Hey – here’s a perfect way of guaranteeing our team constant home games for the rest of the year too!” The rest was disgrace.

Yet the real reason for Ache’s wrath had considerably less to do with football than we might assume. This, of course, is an election year; and he is on the right wing of the Partido Colorado. For many years now, the clarion call of opposition politicians has been “insecurity, insecurity!”: wailing how things have never been worse, lambasting a desperately poorly trained, inadequately resourced police force.

Here, then, was an opportunity to undermine an association which had dared to maintain a semblance of equal power amongst all top division clubs and was threatening to do Nacional out of the TV riches it craved; curry favour amongst the followers, both violent and non-violent, of his club; and gain votes by drawing attention to the failings of the police. As any good populist would, he seized it.

Eduardo Ache. “Who, moi?”

Not, mind you, that the behaviour of Nacional’s bitter rivals has been any better. During the ill fated Copa Antel match I mentioned above, many Manya players seemed intent on apeing the thugs watching them on the terraces: no football please, we’re Peñarol. And of course, the club itself has been involved in a protracted battle over recent months with CONMEBOL, regarding its handling of continental television rights. Peñarol v CONMEBOL; Juan Pedro Damiani v Eugenio Figueredo; Tenfield and Gol TV v Fox Sports.

In presenting a petition of criminal complaint against CONMEBOL, signed by 7 fellow Uruguayan clubs (though significantly, not Nacional), Peñarol began to incur the decided displeasure of FIFA; and further destabilised the precarious situation facing Bauza back home.

For Bauza has made every attempt to distance his association and the Uruguayan game as a whole from Casal’s nefarious, threatening, tyrannical grip. Unable to find other viable options, the AUF has not been able to remove Tenfield’s influence completely – Realpolitik has generally prevailed instead – but during this four year glory run of La Celeste, the formerly ubiquitous Paco has been nowhere to be seen. Until, that is, now.

Look who’s back

Because Casal has at least had the sense to remain close to President Jose Mujica, a man so in thrall to rags to riches stories that one sometimes wonders whether he’d have viewed Pablo Escobar as a sweet, innocent, poor boy made good; and late this year, with the economy here beginning to hit trouble and the peso falling at an increasing rate, the Frente Amplio have an election to win.

Thus was the Minister of Tourism and Sport, Hector Lescano, a key ally of Bauza in his battle with Casal, and proponent of transparency in television rights, suddenly ejected from his post by Mujica in May 2012 with little credible explanation.

Lescano had sought to stop third party ownership of players, a monumental blight on the game here; and prevent intermediaries from simultaneously pursuing sports broadcasting for profit. It was pretty obvious who this brave, commendable man had in his sights in all this.

Hector Lescano. A genuine unsung hero of this story.

And thus was Casal reportedly behind the group of eight or nine clubs who threatened a vote of no confidence against Bauza’s increasingly embattled administration in February. Why? Because of Bauza’s desire to remove the clause allowing Tenfield to match the best bid for the 2018 World Cup; and indeed, for the AUF to wrench control over Uruguayan football and image rights back from Casal.

The last time the association had clashed with Tenfield over TV rights, Casal had threatened Bauza. Already out in the cold in CONMEBOL, he was not about to be lose his domestic power base as well. With the Executive Committee under attack from all sides, the walls were now closing in.

What, though, of Mujica? What of the accusations of government interference over recent days, which sent everyone into such a panic following Bauza’s fall on Monday? To understand the relationship between politics and football here, you have to understand Uruguayan society itself. Football and society are inextricably linked in a manner maybe unparalleled anywhere else in the world.

Every man and his dog has an opinion on La Celeste; the entire country comes to a complete halt whenever the team plays a match; and with the political parties only a representation of the society which they are drawn from, inevitably, many politicians are heavily involved in the sport: some for good; others, not so good.

Mujica, of course, has often expressed studied disinterest in this mere game; but like any politician, he’s always known which side his bread’s buttered on. As long as Paco is around, Pepe and his party will always play ball. Thus came the fateful decision to withdraw the police from the Centenario and Gran Parque Central last weekend: made, I think, for two reasons.

The first was to effectively remove any remaining ground from underneath Bauza: but not, contrary to the rumours which spread like wildfire following the latter’s departure, in a way so overt that it would incur FIFA’s divine disdain. The second, though, was even more cynical: and a horrendous reflection of the ideas of those in prominent positions in his government.

Around the world, it’s naturally been assumed that the police were withdrawn in order to protect them: that this represented the final measure of a government exhausted by the violence endemic in the country’s footballing scene, and seeking to safeguard its forces in any way it could. Yet I rather suspect the opposite to be the case. For in the aftermath of the dreadful scenes at the Centenario exactly a week ago, the media’s attention was as much on alleged police over-reaction and apparent brutality as the behaviour of the home supporters.

To place this in context: last year, video footage of a shoot-out in Pocitos, in which Carlos Rodriguez, a policeman, was shot dead in cold blood, was televised on news programmes. It revealed the police to be hopelessly ill trained and ill equipped; yet the response of Eduardo Bonomi, this country’s ludicrous apology for an Interior Minister, was to declare that they had in fact been “adequately armed”, and to complain once more of media sensationalism.

The murder of policeman Carlos Rodriguez shocked this country

Sadly, this was only in keeping with a government which routinely fails to arm or pay its police force remotely properly – to the extent that police officers invariably end up living alongside criminals, who threaten them and their families if they try to do their jobs – refuses on point of principle to imprison or properly punish any murderer under the age of 18; and has even been known to blame murders and violent crime on the ‘consumer society': because ‘the poor want things too’.

So absurd is this mentality, held by old men like Bonomi (a former academic), or Mujica (who has never held a non-political job, never had children, and appears not to harbour the remotest conception of the actual impact of many of his government’s policies on the people), that the administration here often seems awfully close to siding with criminals; or at least, with the poor. Because the latter represents its core constituency; and from the latter, most of the hooligans plaguing Uruguayan football are derived too.

Pepe the idealist has some very, very strange ideas.

Thus by withdrawing the police last weekend, Mujica could also appear in some strange way to be sympathising with the ‘victims’ of apparent ‘police brutality’. It even goes a long way towards explaining why the government has essentially done nothing about hooliganism for so long. Politics here really are that strange.

All of which brings us back to the complaints of Ache: who has played and is playing politics every bit as much as his sworn enemy, Mujica. And it also brings us to the future. Post-Bauza, what now?

Well, there is one piece of good news. The idea that, two months out from a World Cup in which Uruguay hope to recapture the glories of 1950, FIFA will now kick out one of the tournament’s biggest drawcards is patently absurd.

First, there is no direct evidence that government interference brought Bauza down: instead, as I’ve explained, it’s only indirect, largely circumstantial, and more a consequence of how enmeshed this sorry saga is than anything else. And second, Bauza’s administration did things so differently, so much more transparently, than most other associations in this continent that FIFA will probably be pleased that he’s gone.

“Kick Uruguay out? You’re having a laugh”

But the prognosis beyond that could scarcely be more bleak. Whether overtly or covertly, Ache will now either take control of the AUF or enjoy far greater influence within it than hitherto: as, in all likelihood, will his club, which may join the so-called ‘Group of 7′ smaller clubs who endeavoured to bring Bauza’s Committee down in February. If it does, the power which these clubs will wield within the newly formed executive will be considerable, with many changes in the structure of the game here – most of them based on self-interest – likely to follow.

Casal will remain isolated in CONMEBOL, but be hugely boosted in Uruguay: and his influence will grow exponentially as a result. Those of us who recall the appalling cliques and divided, horribly under-achieving Celeste squads when he last enjoyed such eminence can only fear the worst.

Any prospect for a more holistic, bottom-up approach to the sport here has now gone; nothing will be done about hooliganism either. And above all, the calm, restraining influence of a moderate, enlightened administration charged with keeping the peace in one of the most internecine footballing environments anywhere in the world – an environment which, as I hope this article has demonstrated, amounts to a spider’s web of competing interests in all areas of Uruguayan society – has disappeared for good.

A good man is gone from Uruguayan football. Exit Bauza: no doubt muttering to himself, “Après moi, le déluge”.

A good man is gone.

thebigfeller thebigfeller 2 like

91 Responses so far.

  1. AussieCeleste AussieCeleste says:

    Yorugua,
    But in Germany and Spain they manage to combine cheap entry for poorer young men with comfortable seats for wealthier fans.

    You give the example of how the costs can accumulate for someone who wants a nice seat, imported beer and good food. What’s wrong with that? I’d imagine that in Montevideo a thirty year old lawyer and his dentist wife would spend that money on a meal and an evening out. Why not offer them the chance to do it at the football, without any danger of getting cold and wet?

    I’m no arch-capitalist, but ultimately it’s all discretionary spending on leisure. Football should be competing with bars, restaurants, cinemas, concerts etc.

    And if I was a middle-aged doctor in Montevideo instead of Australia I’d want to see De Arrascaeta in person every week with my kids. But in comfort.

    Current score: 2
    • Yorugua Yorugua says:

      I don’t know dude… I’m assuming from some of your early responses that you’ve never been to Uruguay? Or maybe you have already? Don’t know and whether you go, don’t go, want to go… that’s ultimately up to you.

      There is a certain kind of charm into going to the Stadium, getting a whiff of the Choripan (blood sausages) being cooked… the knockoff jerseys and scarves being sold outside the stadium… the vendors hawking the garrapiñada – and this is available to everyone. But ultimately TBF is right, most often people don’t have the money to splurge and what separates Uruguay from most other soccer mad nations is that most people could give a rat’s ass about everything else, they go for the match and their attention is on it from start to finish. Thats why you may be watching a game on television with Uruguay and Jordan and the boos come thru loud and clear… while at home it doesn’t look like the end of the world.

      What I think you’r talking about is getting more middle-income people to come to the matches… but more than state of the art stadiums and concession stands, the only way to get people to come to football matches is by improving the quality of the league. This is where it’s up to the clubs to provide the incentive, put better teams out there, make them come for the spectacle. But as TBF & 433 have argued, the short seasons means that many teams think short term and not long term.

      Supposedly there will be 20 teams added next season… maybe that will provide the impetus to build better rosters?

      Current score: 2
    • FourThreeThree FourThreeThree says:

      Going to 20 teams would be a mistake. It would mean having to share the revenues with more teams because most likely the teams moving up are “poor”. Also, it would transfer the power to these poorer teams (i.e. more votes to the poor teams), and they are the more likely to side with Casal to get their quick fix.

      Current score: 2
    • Yorugua Yorugua says:

      @433…
      Theres no escaping Casal… “esta hasta en la sopa!”

      Current score: 0
    • FourThreeThree FourThreeThree says:

      Suspensión parcial a AUF es por sospecha de injerencia de Tenfield

      http://www.ovaciondigital.com.uy/futbol/suspension-parcial-auf-sospecha-injerencia.html

      Very interesting!

      The AUF will need to go out of their to show/prove Tenfield is not influencing AUF.

      Current score: 2
    • thebigfeller thebigfeller says:

      Crikey. Now that is what you call a game-changer.

      Paco – what have you done?

      Current score: 2
    • FourThreeThree FourThreeThree says:

      CONMEBOL reasoning is that the clubs seeking legal action against CONMEBOL were being manipulated by Tenfield.

      Current score: 2
    • thebigfeller thebigfeller says:

      And they’re right too.

      Current score: 1
    • FourThreeThree FourThreeThree says:

      @Y
      No soup for you!…Paco

      Current score: 1
  2. FourThreeThree FourThreeThree says:

    Most teams don’t have a vision or business plan. They work on a month to month basis. That is why they are willing to sell out to Casal for $30,000 a month plus $100,000 bonus ($160,000 per month for the grandes), or act as intermediaries in the highly lucrative transfer market.
    This financial crisis is nothing new. Due to the NT success, it had been swept under the carpet, but it re-surfaces whenever the TV rights negotiations begin and everyone vies for a bigger piece of the action.
    This is, IMO, where Bauza has fallen short. We still have the same disfunctional league that we had when he started.

    Current score: 3
    • thebigfeller thebigfeller says:

      Yes – but in a world in which:

      1. Tenfield still has an iron grip over the game here;

      2. The smaller clubs especially depend on Casal’s cash in order to survive;

      3. Somehow, despite being absolutely awful, Casal is still preferable to the even worse Grondona and TyC;

      4. The politicians and big organisations here are all in each other’s back pockets;

      5. The government removes ministers seeking to work with the AUF and stop Casal’s worst excesses;

      6. Club Presidents are elected by members, and therefore have to curry favour amongst those members;

      7. Not just the clubs, but almost everyone lives month to month in such an incredibly expensive country;

      8. The AUF has little money and less power;

      9. The clubs couldn’t even agree on a disciplinary code until Wednesday;

      What on Earth do you think Bauza could feasibly have done which he didn’t do or try to do? He tried to marginalise Tenfield; he tried to wrench the TV and image rights back; he gave long overdue priority to the national and junior teams.

      Don’t just tell us what you’re against. Tell us what you’re for – and more than that, how what you’re for is supposed to be achieved in such a hellishly internecine environment.

      Current score: 2
    • FourThreeThree FourThreeThree says:

      Most team owners and presidents would jump at the opportunity of having more money flowing to their organizations. As shown with the negotiations after WC2010, having more money trumps any kind of relationship the teams have with Tenfield (although Tenfield may try to use the players as pawns as it has done in the past). The only way to break Tenfield’s hold on the AUF is to have more money flowing into the Uruguayan league.

      If teams could be shown that in the long run, they could make more money, they may allow themselves to be subjected to certain rules that could add stability to Uruguayan soccer.

      For example, teams could be required to file financial statements with the league and indicate debts and liabilities, specifically, the short and long term debts that the teams have with Tenfield. Teams would need to present a business plans to show the viability of their operations. I know that this sound Draconian but even other leagues around the world are starting to have a closer look at the financial stability of their teams, in order to ensure the financial stability of their leagues. In this respect, the Bundesliga could be an example.

      There would need to be a mechanism to convert Tenfield debt (Tenfield dollars?) into debt with a major bank. As collateral, the bank would have the revenue from the AUF via TV or licensing agreements. The biggest issue here is that Tenfield probably does not charge interest in the true sense of the word (it charges “favours”) whereas any bank would be looking to make money via the interest. From a legal point-of-view, if Tenfield is “lending” money to the teams, then Tenfield needs to comply with all the rules and regulations that are applicable to banks, but that’s another issue.

      Again, teams would only allow themselves to be subjected to these kinds of rules if they could be shown that they will make more money as a result, so we would need to find additional sources of money for the AUF. And you would need a bank willing to make an investment in Uruguayan soccer.

      On the money side of the equation, there’s basically two potential sources of income that are available to any soccer federation: TV rights, and sponsorships, licensing and royalties. Looking at U.S. Soccer, it made US$12.9 million from its Nike official kit deal and US$11.1 million from its deal with Soccer United Marketing, which includes TV rights (BTW, Soccer United Marketing also does work for the Mexican National Team). At the moment, ESPN and Fox are negotiating for TV rights to both MLS and U.S. Soccer to be worth around US$70 million per season! Of course, in theory, this is for a population base of 230+ million, but the fact is that the MLS actually get only about 200,000 TV viewers per game. By comparison, Colombia is currently getting US$21 million per 4 year contract; it has a minimum requirement of US$3 million per sponsor. Most South American federations have 7 sponsors (Ecuador, Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay, Bolivia) while Peru have 5 and Venezuela have 4 (http://nuevo.futbolete.com/wp-content/uploads/Selecciones_actualizado.pdf)

      The AUF got US$10.5 million for the TV rights over 4 years and it hoping to get US$18 million for the 2018 WC. Traditionally, the major sponsors for soccer are official kit, beverages, beer and communications; the AUF has these covered with PUMA, Coca Cola, Pilsen and Antel. And two “other” sponsors, Médica Uruguaya and recently signed Sancor Seguros. While Uruguay has no airline (which are major sponsors for the European teams), it does have Geant Travel. Not sure how much each sponsor is contributing, but I expect that these sponsors will also need to up the ante. But there must be other opportunities that could be tapped, such as petrochemical industry (ANCAP), banks (local or BBVA?), technology (Samsung, Sony?), others (McDonalds like Paraguay).

      That’s my two cents worth. I know that things like this do not occur over-night, but four years later and we are back in the same boat.

      PS: Bauza is being credited with taking on Tenfield and investing in the junior teams:
      -The “grass roots movement” against Tenfield started before Bauza. If you trust Bardanca, according to his book Yo Paco, it was Corbo who was trying to re-negotiate the TV contracts with Tenfield back in 2006. The AUF was trying to get a better deal, using breach-of-contract by Tenfield as a negotiating tool. In the end, Peñarol and Nacional backed off (and double-crossed Corbo) and so the AUF settled with Tenfield for a lesser amount. Some of Casal’s players in the big teams were threatening with not playing in the Apertura.
      – Tabarez and his masterplan for the junior teams came into effect during Figueredo’s mandate (http://www.lr21.com.uy/deportes/204601-oscar-tabarez-fue-investido-como-tecnico-de-la-seleccion-nacional). And OWT has been able to survive all the uncertainty at the AUF during Corbo, Rivero and now Bauza’s mandate.

      Current score: 2
    • thebigfeller thebigfeller says:

      Every now and then, I read a post on here which really, really, REALLY makes me think. Your post above, FourThreeThree, is one such example. You’ve REALLY thought about it – and hats off to you for many of your ideas.

      You’re right: the answer is for the clubs to become independently viable, somehow. And it’s great to see that Danubio and Wanderers have started asking themselves how it can be done. The problem, though, is this is a government which closed the case on Tenfield last year, to Vice-President Astori’s fury, and the public’s general disgust. Tenfield have Mujica in their back pocket, sadly.

      The one thing I would disagree with you on is the last bit. In a sense, Tabarez’ great ‘project’ lasted one competitive game – because having come into the job preaching the mantra of, well, your username, he panicked the moment Peru exposed it at the start of the 2007 Copa America.

      Thankfully, the team’s fortunes then recovered, and El Maestro survived; but had Figueredo been at the helm during the mid-2009 nadir of being thrashed by Brazil and losing disastrously in Peru, I cannot for the life of me believe that he’d have continued to support Tabarez. The same is true of that run of disasters in late 2012.

      The stability Bauza’s committee provided, and the faith they showed? Almost all other modern day AUF administrations would simply not have done that. They’d have been nobbled by all those interests I referred to in the article as much as anything else.

      Current score: 1
  3. FourThreeThree FourThreeThree says:

    Elaboran plan de gobierno para evitar que AUF “rescate” a clubes

    Danubio y Wanderers analizan los ingresos y egresos para elaborar una proyección que permita gobernar sin tener contratiempos, y evitar que los clubes exijan a la AUF que los salve

    http://www.elobservador.com.uy/noticia/275756/elaboran-plan-de-gobierno-para-evitar-que-auf-rescate-a-clubes/

    Current score: 2
    • thebigfeller thebigfeller says:

      As above: credit where it’s due. This is encouraging stuff. Hard to believe it’ll get very far – but then, that might depend on what happens with Curutchet after the World Cup.

      Current score: 1
    • Yorugua Yorugua says:

      @433 & TBF –
      Hope one of you guys can clear this up for me… Valdez is only onboard on an interim basis? Does this mean Curutchet still has a shot at getting the full time gig? I’m assuming this would occur AFTER the World Cup?

      Current score: 1
    • thebigfeller thebigfeller says:

      Yes, it is only interim. The main aim last week was, in typical Uruguayan fashion (what’s the most important Spanish word for visitors here to learn? ‘Demorado’), to put everything in abeyance until after the World Cup: not to allow this to affect La Celeste’s preparations or chances in any way.

      Then the bigger decisions can be made after the tournament: when, it is hoped, CONMEBOL will re-integrate the AUF. But that depends on what the latter does. Curutchet? In normal circumstances, he’d be the obvious choice, and I think he has a very big part to play in whatever emerges in the medium term. But these aren’t normal circumstances; this is an election year. Can a reformer really become AUF President in July, when an election’s taking place at the end of October? I doubt it very, very much.

      Another article will follow from me in the next day or two bringing people up to date and asking a number of questions, based on the discussions we’ve had about this article. This has a long, long, long way to run yet.

      Current score: 2
  4. AussieCeleste AussieCeleste says:

    That was a close-run thing with Cavani this morning!

    I was terrified that PSG would get through and he’d have an extra unnecessary 2 or 3 games in his legs which the World Cup arrives in 64 days’ time.

    At this stage, every well-wisher of Uruguayan football should be grateful for this elimination, and for Suarez’ biting ban and lack of European football this season.

    We saw what happened at the 2012 Olympics when neither player was fresh enough to be decisive.

    Now it will be the likes of Oscar, Cahill, Willian and Hazard who are worn out rather than Cavani and Suarez. I hope.

    I don’t know about the rest of you, but from the start of March every World Cup year I find that my only interest in club football is a constant fear of serious injuries. I saw Jay Rodriguez go down with his serious injury for Southampton last weekend and my first thought was “the poor guy is out of the World Cup” and my second one was ‘I hope that they don’t over-use Gaston Ramirez in his absence”.

    I will never, ever forget 2002. Brazil won and far superior France and Argentina teams were knocked out at the first hurdle. And the difference was just the physical condition of the players. I don’t understand why Bielsa thought that his style could work with players exhausted by an expanded Champions League in a World Cup with two weeks’ fewer recovery time because it had been brought forward to avoid the monsoon season.

    I look at Suarez, Cavani, Caceres, Ramirez and Cebolla and think “okay, none of them look overworked at this stage”. But Suarez and Cavani are the two at highest risk.

    Current score: 0
    • thebigfeller thebigfeller says:

      Aussie, you crack me up. You really do. You were “terrified” that Cavani might have the chance to play in the semi-finals of the world’s biggest, highest quality club tournament? Were you hiding behind the sofa, hardly daring to look?

      I’m sure Edinson himself will be gutted: not least with his own performance. Not to put too fine a point on it, he was shit.

      And yes yes, conditioning does play a part, and missing club games at this stage of the season is no bad thing. But most of us on here are club fans as well: Norwich City are my chosen poison, but I just hope our own need for survival doesn’t stop Suarez leading Liverpool to what would be the most memorable, popular league title in living memory.

      Incidentally, on 2002: it wasn’t so much that France and Argentina’s players were in such bad shape as WHEN the tournament was played. Two weeks too early to, as you say, avoid clashing with the rainy season in the Far East. So European-based players had no time for recovery at all. That won’t be the case this time, so it’ll be a lot less significant. It’s not a mistake I can ever imagine FIFA making again either.

      The one caveat here is that high tempo sides with many players involved in the Premier League (eg. England or Belgium) will, I think, have major problems in the Brazilian conditions. But it shouldn’t be much of a concern for slow-slow-quick-quick-slow Uruguay.

      Current score: 2
  5. plaga9celeste plaga9celeste says:

    de arrascaeta given away for peanuts to paco’s right hand man..
    this is too good..
    if this example doesn’t describe the problem in a nutshell i don’t know what will..
    our talent is bled out, stolen in the middle of the night, by the vultures.. obviously facilitated by the very clubs that form the players..
    http://www.ovaciondigital.com.uy/futbol/giorgian-arrascaeta-vendido-us-millones.html

    Current score: 1
    • thebigfeller thebigfeller says:

      Enzo Francescoli, Nelson Gutierrez, Daniel Fonseca. A disgrace to Uruguayan football and to their country; every single one of them.

      Discuss.

      Current score: 1
    • Farerets Farerets says:

      Nelson Gutierrez, strangling Belgian Marc Degryse, without posession and from behind, is still the strongest memory for me from 1990 World Cup. This man has always been a disgrace!

      Current score: 1
  6. AussieCeleste AussieCeleste says:

    The career of Fonseca always surprises me. I’m surprised that he’s allowed entry into the EU after the accusations that were made about his behaviour at the end of his career with Como (or was it Juventus).

    Mind you, the likes of Robin Van Persie, Ribery and Benzema have also survived equally serious allegations.

    It’s amazing what money can buy.

    Current score: 2
  7. AussieCeleste AussieCeleste says:

    Yes TBF.

    Cavani and Suarez are fundamental to Uruguay’s hopes. Suarez has 5 matches to go, which is much better than 10 if they were still in the FA Cup and Champions League.

    I worry for Oscar, Hazard and the Real Madrid and Barca players, apart from Messi who had a mid-season break.

    Current score: 0
  8. NicoGF NicoGF says:

    this kind of songs promote violence in football and in life. it’s the same thing, violence should always be repudiated, punished and penalized. when it comes to big teams, people should be able to distinguish rivalry from enmity. those who dont, im sorry but get out of football for the sake of freedom. thats when government should take part if needed, promoting good behavior not forbidding police to take action, it’s a total lack of respect…

    Current score: 0
    • thebigfeller thebigfeller says:

      But that’s another thing, Nico. There’s a tradition of ‘freedom’ here unmatched in any other South American country. I think that’s one of many reasons why this government, most of whom were imprisoned and/or tortured in the 1970s, has done so little about either hooliganism or Casal – because it feels that people should be ‘free’ to do whatever they want.

      Sad, and difficult for many to understand – but true. Note the rising level of gun possession and gun-related crime too. That also correlates with Wild West interpretations of freedom, just as in the US.

      Current score: 2
    • NicoGF NicoGF says:

      Exactly. Our government should apply the popular saying do what you want but “your freedom ends where mine begins”. Cause freedom is not just being able to do whatever you want, because in the way you might be limiting someone else’s freedom too, we should all respect each other instead.

      Current score: 3
  9. plaga9celeste plaga9celeste says:

    the new AUF thinks that they can make a case and disprove that the bauza fall was digitized by tenfiled/paco..
    this should be good..

    http://www.ovaciondigital.com.uy/futbol/suspension-parcial-auf-sospecha-injerencia.html

    Current score: 1
  10. NicoGF NicoGF says:

    already got the album’s most difficult sticker?

    https://fbcdn-sphotos-g-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-prn1/t1.0-9/10247298_10152361633723664_3929109980981227775_n.jpg

    Current score: 0
  11. Farerets Farerets says:

    “Uruguay: The small country nobody wants to face” – this recent Washington Post article is short not especially interesing, but the headline is true and says it all!

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/dcunited/uruguay-the-small-country-nobody-wants-to-face/2014/04/09/19283738-bfc8-11e3-9ee7-02c1e10a03f0_story.html

    Current score: 1
  12. plaga9celeste plaga9celeste says:

    and de arrascaeta “la rompe” again.. hello.. yeah.. maestro..? de arrascaeta is uruguayan..
    i think he calls him now.. place your bets..

    Current score: 3
    • Aridres says:

      He just looks untouchable sometimes when he’s on the ball. Shields the ball better for a small guy than anyone I’ve seen in Celeste. Great passing, I’m salivating at the thought of him working behind Suarez and Cavani. If he doesn’t get called up for our last two friendlies I will have lost all hope for OWT moving forward para El Mundial.

      Current score: 3
  13. matiasdf says:

    Please! FELIPE GEDOZ MUST BE NATIONALIZED AND CALLED UP ASAP! Having him could get us the Cup!

    Current score: 1
  14. Maldoror55 Maldoror55 says:

    Guys,I agree for Gedoz too.But I think he doesn’t agree with us.He is still 20,and dreams about selecao jersey.We need to understand him.It’s a bigger chance for him to be called by Scolari,than by Tabarez.

    Current score: 1
    • matiasdf says:

      Yes, I would understand him if he chose Brazil over us. The real question is… Would he have a chance of being called up by Brazil?

      Current score: 1
  15. Maldoror55 Maldoror55 says:

    “If he doesn’t get called up for our last two friendlies I will have lost all hope for OWT moving forward para El Mundial.”
    Tabarez doesnt need to call up any skillfull player at all.he already has prepared us not to expect too much.Only to frustrate some big teams on their way to the top.Only to be tough,and garra,and this one could manage even with mediocrees like Lodeiro,Tata,Russo,Palito,and declining stars like Forlan and Turtle.Maestro has perfectly prepared us to expect nothing and to be happy just with the next to it.And he will get his advocates and demagogues on this blog too,whatever result is.Actually he is already solicited in advance.For the success he has achieved before.For the withered laurels,that none could use anymore even for the cooked beans.
    It is very comfortable position,without any obligation.We have already seen against Austria,that this is worn out team,without any motivation,without energy,without speed.Damian Suarez is already second season starting player in la Liga,but Tabarez still forces Fucile who already for years plays nowhere.It seems that is even more difficult to get out off Celeste team than to get in.You are once in,you could change your job for a broker,or plumber,but you will never lose your place in LC.You have joined the club of untouchables.Statues made of stones.
    So stimulating and encouraging for ambitious young players.Really!?

    Current score: 2
    • dutchfan dutchfan says:

      Problem is that under the current circumstances Tabarez seems an important stable factor, which makes it more difficult to criticise him.

      Current score: 2
  16. Maldoror55 Maldoror55 says:

    “Problem is that under the current circumstances Tabarez seems an important stable factor, which makes it more difficult to criticise him.”
    That sounds so political.Precisely American political;”Let’s keep this or that dictator there,because he is keeping this or that area stable.”
    But the history teaches us that the consequences of such thinking later on show as disastrous.The later the worse.
    So many good players will damage their career by remaining unnoticed,and so many mediocrees have been just a waste of money and time for many European clubs,just beacuse Tabarez has put them higher above their real quality and price by calling them in LC team.We see how Lodeiro,Fucile,Eguren,Aguirregaray,Scotti,Arevalo,Flaco,Palito,Coates etc.etc have finished.
    But the publicity in Uruguay is getting more and more unanimous in one thing,and here we shall see if he has got any pragmatic flexibility or is he just an old,petrified,rigid,egomaniac in conlict with the positive results of his policy.The quality of young players that he has produced,the height of talents that overspread Uruguayan football(today even some U17 players already play in A teams and score)is far far above the level he has adopted,and jealously hold on to it.I think the results of positive revolution that he has brought to Uruguayan football,has just outmatched him.He has created many good things but is unable to reap it up,and use it,and has fallen under the level of current conditions.Shortly to say.The time has surpassed him,has driven over him.He still lives in 2010.and 2011.If you call it atability.yes it is.Stability like in Cuba(where there is not all so bad,but is going up too slow with the necessities of time),or like in old Communist regimes who hav been stable for decades and once just collapsed like house made of cards.Its a fake stability,which will be show up on WC,and than the AUF,Casal and Mujica will be responsible for all.What a comfortable situation,for him!The more stays so stable situation,the more difficult would be later on to dismantle it,to assure some football mandarins that their place is not anymore in LC team(even Abreu is wondering why he is out of the team,such autistic,untouchable,and non-realistic mentality of chosen people, has Tabarez incepted in them).Once for ever;nobody should have granted LC jersey,and the priroity of getting it should be the current form of player,not the memory of someone once playing in form.All these excuses of;they know,they have been instructed,they have experience,no matter that they even dont have a club in which they would play,are just bullshts,demagoguery in which one want the wishful thinking present as an objective reality.
    Who knows who stays behind the present crises in Uruguayan football.Maybe even those whose interest is to find the excuse for Tabarez eventual failure on WC,outside of him and his cosen staff,and players.
    http://www.elobservador.com.uy/noticia/276182/hay-lugar-para-giorgian/

    Current score: 1
    • dutchfan dutchfan says:

      I foresee many people rallying round Tabarez, as a seemingly solid force, and hence less room for criticism. I consider this a problem.

      Current score: 1
    • NicoGF NicoGF says:

      i agree that form should be the main factor, in fact, performance should: who are at the current time the best players available we have? is forlan impressing everybody? as you see in LCB homepage in the upper right corner, we are 61 days from the WC… 61 days!!!!! just 2 months, are we gonna play with memory and names or we should call players who are or will be in excellent form in 60 days?? the physical factor is to be an athlete, what do you need?
      flexibility
      movility
      agility
      speed, acceleration
      strenght and power
      endurance/stamina

      then you need ball control, mastering the art of shielding the ball, some defensive knowledge and you are ready for a world cup. is forlan ready??? giorgian is ready.

      forlan and tabarez watch this video please:

      Current score: 2
    • Yorugua Yorugua says:

      @DutchFan & M55

      I don’t think that many people are under the spell of Tabarez as they were in 2010 – 2011, should Uruguay have a shitty World Cup, he’ll draw most of the blame especially if he’s capping his Veteranos du choice… the FA mess shouldn’t affect the NT much unless the AUF moneymen forget to book the charter flights and pay for the hotel rooms.

      This article appeared on February 14:
      http://www.subrayado.com.uy/Site/noticia/30871/juez-condeno-a-empleada-de-tabarez-y-critico-al-entrenador

      Even though he won his civil suit against his paramour/maid, the judge admonished him for not being forthright and honest. Now is he going to draw some sympathy with everything that’s been going on? Of course… but things being the way they are I think if Victor Púa were the coach right now, he’d draw the same amount of sympathy!

      @Farerets – Are you serious dude? [shaking my head in disbelief] – to each his own ;)

      @Nico – all your recent comments lead to some instructional video? Is this guy paying you to do this? If so, lets use that money to get this site some serious upgrades… maybe an intro song every time somebody logs on, they can hear this song which sums up the current mess la AUF is experiencing!:

      As for me, it doesn’t take much to satisfy me…. I would use that money that dude is secretly giving you and would purchase a red cape and a sabre… only then would I feel “whole” again ;)

      Current score: 1
  17. Farerets Farerets says:

    Meanwhile, our good old friend scored a couple of nice ones in J-league today…

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lp0NWVtdkbw

    Current score: 1
    • Maldoror55 Maldoror55 says:

      So many blond Japaneses,and everyone looks like Honda.
      Japanese football league is on 30th place according to IFFHS,and Uruguayan on 35th.No big difference.Blondie could have returned home,and make the same thing and nobody would praise him,because everyone considers home league for sh.t.Japanese is not far away from it.Croatian is also somewhere there; 32nd.Than is Tunisia,China.Israel is 36th,than comes Iran,Costa
      Rica,Poland,Moldova,Serbia,Azerbeijan,Bolivia,Sweden..49th is USA(MLS),Egypt,Slovenia,Estonia…..In USA is Flaco.He also used to be called up by Tabarez….
      Can you imagine that Uruguayan league with its cowspastures of pitches,where player almost could by mistake kick the cabbage instead of a ball.and rain leaking dressing rooms,stands of some high school playgrounds,in 60’s,somewhere in former Yugoslavia,or Poland,can you imagine that Uruguayan league under such poorer than present Africa conditions is better than those ones?!
      It is a miracle of Uruguayan football genius.We should not underestimate our players,playing under the worse conditions in South America.Bolivia,Peru,Venezuela,they all have better stadiums.Uruguayan stadiums are worse than on Haiti.Home football is poorer than the church mouse.
      And still some clubs(not so petted,privileged and spoiled like old glories of Penarol and Nacional)are able to beat the best clubs of South America.

      Current score: 3
    • Yorugua Yorugua says:

      @Maldoror55 – an inspired comment! only one correction, Flaco plays in Argentina now (Gimnasia y Esgrima):
      Flaco

      Current score: 2
  18. Recobenzo says:

    Ramirez got hut again.

    It looked like he had cement shoes trying to jump in on a through high ball that if he was able to connect would have been a goal.

    He looked like Andy carroll and Coates the way he tangled himself up. I like him but he is like paper mache out there sometimes.

    Rolan looked great last week and good again today but he was subbed off at 45 minutes for reasons beyond me unless he was hurt.

    Current score: 1
 

You need to log in to vote

The blog owner requires users to be logged in to be able to vote for this post.

Alternatively, if you do not have an account yet you can create one here.

  • World Time

  • Writers