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July 31, 2014
"Everything passes, as does life"

Argentina Football Association (AFA) president Julio Grondona (Photo: Getty Images)
by Ernesto Ortiz, AIPS Executive Committee member
MONTEVIDEO, July 31, 2014 - The President of the Argentine Football Association (AFA) Julio Humberto Grondona died on Wednesday, July 30. On the day of the anniversary of first World Cup final, played in Montevideo between Uruguay and Argentina. His death occurred as a result of heart failure.

As of April 6, 2014, Grondona had served as head of the Argentine Football Association (AFA) for thirty five years, having chaired the institution since 1979. He was re-elected as president eight times.

During his administration, Argentina's national team won its second title in Mexico 1986, two second places in Italy 1990 and Brazil 2014 and two Copa America titles (1991 and 1993). In the youth level, Argentina achieved six world junior titles (1979, 1995, 1997, 2001, 2005 and 2007), two gold medals in the Olympic Games (Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008) and one silver medal (Atlanta 1996). These achievements put Argentine football within the world's elite.

Grondona was first vice-president of the International Federation of Football Association (FIFA), member of eight commissions and chairman of three of them, among which include the Finance and Marketing and Television Council. Since1988 he was a member of the Executive Committee of the International Federation on behalf of CONMEBOL.

Grondona dedicated his life to the development of football from the foundation of the Club Arsenal de Sarandi, along with A. Independent Club of which he was president, as well as chairing the AFA. He was fascinated by being a political guardian of football.

Grondona possessed a supreme power of negotiation used it with skill and experience in CONMEBOL and FIFA. He had a string of phrases that were part of his particular outlooks:

-"The reason I am still as president is because I am the lesser evil."

- "Maradona speaks about moral codes while he’s the one who has the least."

- "Everything passes...".

- "I would never occupy a political office. They suggested me to be a candidate for Mayor of Avellaneda, but I don’t like doing what I don’t know.".

- "As vice-president of FIFA, I have more power than any politician in Argentina."

- "The less you talk, the less problems you have. Today everything is distorted."

- "They will only take me from the AFA feet first."

- "The power is not mine. They gave it to me. The others feel I have power and that's what counts..."

Grondona, the leader who survived 15 Argentine presidents, from Videla to Cristina Kirchner, and three popes, from the Polish John Paul II to the Argentine Francisco, was also the one who choose ten coaches of the Argentine national team.

He was a character that marked a 'before' and for sure there will be an 'after'. An army of loyals feared him and another one of enemies hated him.

Román Iucht wrote in La Nacion: ‘Life should be reviewed the day after death, as death always improves the image of people.

“Everything passes” said Grondona. "As does life."

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