It is all going wrong for Argentina at the moment. Just last week, after another heartbreaking defeat in a final, Argentina superstar Lionel Messi stunned La Albiceleste’s fans worldwide with the shocking announcement that he was retiring from international football at 29.
Now today we hear that Argentina manager Tata Martino has quit over the lack of players released to take part in the Rio Games in August.
His entire staff resigned with him, according to a statement on the AFA’s official website, which said:
“The national team’s technical staff have decided to hand in their resignation on this day [Tuesday].
“Due to uncertainty over the designation of new authorities in the Argentine Football Association and the serious problems in putting together the team that will represent the country in the Olympic Games, the staff have chosen to resign.”
Martino initially called-up 57 players before whittling the list down to 35. However, of the players announced, only nine have been sanctioned to take part by their respective clubs thus far with Serie A stars Paulo Dybala and Mauro Icardi refused attendance by Juventus and Inter respectively.
According to FIFA regulations, clubs are only for forced to release players for international competitions officially sanctioned by the world governing body – of which the Olympics is not. As a result only two European clubs – Atletico Madrid and Real Sociedad – allowed their players to take part.
umours swirled last week that the Argentine federation had postponed the start of Olympic team training in Buenos Aires because of difficulties getting clearance for the under-23 players headed to Rio de Janeiro.
On Monday, the president of the Argentine Olympic Committee, Gerardo Werthein, warned that there was a 50 percent chance that the country would not have a men’s Olympic football team in Rio because the Argentina league clubs had failed to authorise the release of their players.
He also blasted the federation for abandoning the situation and criticised Martino for having “a passive attitude” toward the situation.
“What is happening has everything to do with what is going on with AFA, an entity in which there is no one who can make decisions,” Werthein told Radio Mitre. “They have not spoken with us in 20 months, they are completely silent about the Olympic team despite being two-time champions, and they have done absolutely nothing to call up the players.