Published 12/18/2023 08:27 | Edited 12/18/2023 08:41
The new president of Argentina, Javier Milei, was booed this Sunday (17) by Boca Juniors fans amid the club’s internal elections. It was the first major protest against the leader of the Argentine far right since his inauguration last Sunday (10).
Milei went to the La Bombonera stadium where the La Boca neighborhood club held elections to elect the new president. The anarcho-capitalist declared support for the candidate of the country’s former president and also of Boca Juniors, Maurício Macri, who was a candidate for vice on André Ibarra’s defeated ticket.
A member of the association, the Argentine president arrived for the vote around 10 am and heard shouts such as “adjuster”, “the club belongs to the member”, “he wants to rob the pensioners” and “chicken”, the nickname that Boquenses give to their hinchas from River Plate, their biggest rival.
The atmosphere in the Boca elections is like, huh…
Javier Milei, recently elected president of Argentina, went to Bombonera to vote and was booed and harassed by several Xeneize fans. (+) pic.twitter.com/LYQ5VCq0JQ
— O Canto das Torcidas (@OCantoOficial) December 18, 2023
Milei took over the Argentine Executive promising to apply a shock to the country’s economy, or a “chainsaw” to public spending. Fiscal austerity, however, has the potential to worsen the recession and the debt/GDP ratio, in a country with more than 40% of the population below the poverty line.
In elections that were in many ways contaminated by national politics, the candidate supported by the far-right duo Javier Milei and Maurício Macri (candidate for vice-president in this election), André Ibarra, was defeated by the Xeneize idol Juan Román Riquelme, who will be president of the club until 2027.
To become the fifth former player to become president of the most popular club in the country, Riquelme had to dodge the neoliberal machine gun of Milei and Macri. Sharpened in their speech after the country’s elections, Ibarra and Macri’s campaign was based on the mantra that “populism has settled in the club” to try to regain political power in La Boca.
It was because of this supposed populism that Milei already stated that he stopped supporting Boca. In the historic final of the Copa Libertadores in 2018, between the Xeneize club and River Plate, the politician declared that he had “turned his coat”.
According to him, the reason for changing his fans was a change made by coach Guillermo Barros Schelotto, with the entry of experienced midfielder Fernando Gago in the second half.
“I was supporting Boca. Actually watching the game. But when Gago came in, which was another act of populism, I started to support River”, said Milei, in an interview with “El País”. River Plate were the champions of the championship after beating Boca 3-1 in the final.
SAF and the clubs’ protest against Milei
The world champion football country saw the sport take to the field in this year’s Argentine presidential elections. In the final week of the election that elected Javier Milei as the new president, a 2022 interview with a local podcast almost derailed the far-right candidacy.
In the video, Milei defended the transformation of clubs into “sociedades anónimas deportivas” (SAD). In other words, Margaret Thatcher’s follower said that the ideal was for clubs to transfer management control to a private company instead of the local community.
Boca Juniors, River Plate, Racing Club, Independiente and many others used social media to protest the idea. At that moment, the wave of protests against the idea was large enough to shake the campaign of Libertad Avanza, a political party of the mileist extreme right.
Unlike Brazil, where clubs are managed by restricted and elitist associations, with a small number of members, sports associations in the neighboring country have registered more than 50 thousand members since the 1940s.
In this Sunday’s election, for example, the turnout of Boca Juniors fans and members was a record, reaching 43,367 votes. By way of comparison, Corinthians held an election for president in November and recorded 4,184 votes.
That’s why, upon arriving to vote this Sunday, some fans protested against the privatization of the clubs. Shouting “the club belongs to the members”, the Boquenses firm up their position, rejecting Milei’s neoliberal policy at Boca Juniors.