Ventana Modal

Este contenido se reemplaza via ajax por el del html externo.

×

Ventana Modal

Este contenido se reemplaza via ajax por el del html externo.

×

Ventana Modal

Este contenido se reemplaza via ajax por el del html externo.

×

×

| 5/20/2011 3:00:00 PM

Red card

May 20--The worst of times for Colombia’s security were the best of times for its professional footballers. In the 1980s and early 1990s the capos of Colombia’s drug gangs engaged freely in politics and legitimate business. Sport was no exception.

Pablo Escobar owned Atlético Nacional; Millionarios belonged to José Gonzalo Rodríguez Gacha, a rival drug trafficker; and the Rodríguez Orejuela brothers of the Cali “cartel” held shares in América de Cali. Offering astronomical salaries, their teams lured foreign stars like Argentina’s Julio César Falcioni and Ricardo Gareca. In 1991 Colombia’s top league averaged a healthy 15,423 fans per game.

Since then Colombia’s government has broken up the mobs. But football clubs have had trouble adapting. Per-game attendance has fallen: last year it was just 8,099. Colombia’s national team have not qualified for the finals of a World Cup since 1998. According to Rafael Arias, the general secretary of Dimayor, the league’s governing body, the old influx of easy cash encouraged clubs to spend freely. When the money dried up, they were left with huge debts.

América de Cali, which won five consecutive national titles in the 1980s, has been on the United States Treasury Department’s list of groups tied to drugs for 12 years, crippling it financially. It now owes its players ten months of back pay. Last month Coldeportes, the government’s sport regulatory agency, barred it from playing until it pays its wages. Deportes Quindio, whose players refused to travel to Bogotá last month over withheld pay, and the Once Caldas club were also penalised.
 
Read more here.

Semana International delivers news about Colombia in English. Find more in our home.

¿Tiene algo que decir? Comente

Para comentar este artículo usted debe ser un usuario registrado.

EDICIÓN 1842

PORTADA

La voltereta de la Corte con el proceso de Andrade

Los tres delitos por los cuales la Corte Suprema procesaba al senador se esfumaron con la llegada del abogado Gustavo Moreno, hoy ‘ad portas’ de ser extraditado. SEMANA revela la historia secreta de ese reversazo.