During the first series of friendlies that it played at home after the World Cup in Russia, on November 16, 2018, the Argentine soccer team stepped on Cordoba grass for the tenth time in its history. Devalued after their performance in the FIFA Cup and Putin, without Messi and with another Lionel (Scaloni) as interim coach, the albiceleste team faced an alternative formation from Mexico and won 2-0. Almost 40 thousand people attended the event.
In a very different context, nothing less than the celebration of the third World Cup star, the experience was about to be repeated after Qatar 2022. The Kempes Stadium seemed a fixture to host the unequal duel against Curaçao scheduled for March 28, until Pablo Toviggino, the AFA’s predominant treasurer, tipped the balance in favor of Santiago del Estero, his adopted province.
In the heat of the negotiations, one piece of information went unnoticed: the organization of the match was in charge of a certain ProSport Live LLC. They were conspicuous by his absence Guillermo Tofoni -entrepreneur ‘fetish’ of Argentine soccer since the time of the reign of Julio Grondona- and his company World Eleven.
Guillermo Tofoni was the ‘fetish’ businessman of the AFA since the days of Julio Humberto Grondona. Since 2009 he was considered ‘The Owner of the National Team’.
After a long coexistence, the love ended. And the divorce came to light a few days ago, when the Federal Criminal and Correctional Court No. 10 upheld a criminal action by Tofoni “against Claudio Fabián Tapia and any other person who appears or is suspected of being a co-author, accomplice, instigator, or concealer of the crimes of disruption of agreed rights, money laundering and/or the one that is ultimately established”.
The businessman considers his agreement with the AFA as “exclusive agent” for the organization and marketing of “matches to be played for the national team against other national teams and/or recognized prestigious teams” as “current”; anywhere in the world; with complete freedom of choice of dates, places and rivals”.
It refers that the last agreement was made on May 4, 2021, with a duration until December 30, 2030, and that it imposed “the exploitation of all television and audiovisual rights” and “the management of tickets, advertising, parking, sponsorship and other collections that are generated on the occasion of the game”.
“Despite this, Tapia entered into a strange contract, after the World Cup (Qatar 2022), with another company with no experience in the field,” says the man who since 2009 has been considered “The Owner of the National Team.” The AFA assures that the agreement invoked by Tofoni was not even analyzed by the Executive Committee, as established in its statute.
END OF CYCLE. In conflict with World Eleven, the AFA commissioned an American company to organize the Argentina-Curaçao friendly. /// PHOTO: CEDOC PROFILE
Regarding ProSport Live LLC – “the striking company illegally filed by Tapia”, according to Tofoni’s presentation -, Judge Julián Ercolini issued an exhortation to the US Justice to provide all the available information. Similarly, requirements were made to FIFA, the Central Bank, the Financial Information Unit, the Afip and the General Inspectorate of Justice. According to reports, the firm is based in Miami and its director is Kent Agüero, the businessman who in 2011 presented to Buenos Aires – together with the then mayor of Tigre, Sergio Massala – the farewell tour of the American tennis players André Agassi and Pete Sampras.
defense and attack
Notified of the accusation against Tapia for the alleged crime of fraud, the AFA launched a quick counterattack in Comodoro Py. He denounced Tofoni for improper use of his brand in the training centers that World Eleven inaugurated as part of the ‘AFA-Football Technology Institute’ project.
The case fell to the Federal Criminal and Correctional Court No. 1, in charge of María Servini. You scammed many countries. Use the AFA name for personal fines. We are going to take all this in depth, ghost ”, Toviggino posted on his Twitter account, where he often flaunts his power in the world of ball.
On March 16, a pronouncement of the National Commercial Court No. 7 detrimental to Tofoni “refrain from using the brands, denominations, logos, distinctive seals, as well as any other distinctive element owned by the AFA and/or the National Team Argentine Soccer National and/or of any physical and/or legal person associated with its principal”. Subsequently, on April 11, the AFA notified World Eleven that it proceeded to “immediate termination” of the franchise agreement.
THE RED THREAD. Andre Agassi and Sergio Massa. In 2011, the former tennis player appeared in Tigre under the tutelage of ProSport Live, AFA’s new partner. /// PHOTO: CEDOC PROFILE
The Institutos Tecnológicos project was launched on August 20, 2020 at the Lionel Messi Estate and it was the captain of the Argentine team himself who gave the initial kick through a video. The agreement gave World Eleven the power to sell franchises for 10 years (it was projected to open 200 venues and raise US$ 100 million in the first five years) and as consideration, Tofoni would organize 14 tours of different Argentine teams and would pay a royalty per student.
The Technological Institutes were presented in 2020 at the Messi Estate and it was the captain of the team himself who gave the initial kick through a video.
In Córdoba, it was planned to open up to 38 units in the Capital and 11,000 throughout the province. According to what PROFILE CÓRDOBA was able to find out, the recent match that the women’s teams from Argentina and Venezuela played at Kempes, whose rights were ceded to the firm ‘Torneos’, was not part of the deal.
Connoisseurs of the corridors of the AFA refer to Tofoni as “a complex type” and understand that his decision to go to criminal courts, and not initiate a civil action that would give him a more concrete opportunity to obtain reparation, is part of a media strategy .
In return, they point out that the AFA has “had a long-standing habit” of breaking its agreements, and cite as examples the case of ‘Fútbol para Todos’ and the lawsuits brought forward by ‘Socios.com’ and ByBIT, digital asset companies that had an ephemeral step as sponsors of the Professional League. “The clubs are not informed much of the commercial contracts that are signed either,” he adds about Tapia’s management.
In his court filing, Tofoni invoked his status as an “authorized FIFA agent” since 1999 and mentioned Córdoba as one of the places where he organized his matches, referring to the Boca-River summer games of 2014 and 2015, and Talleres-Belgrano for the 2016 BBVA Cup.
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