Beccacece returns to La Bombonera in a defining crossover.  On December 23, 2020, he was eliminated by Boca managing Racing.  Photo: EFE

The ball is not the only one that rotates in Argentine soccer. The political thread, too. It happens in the corridors of Viamonte, the historic headquarters of the AFA, or Puerto Madero, where the Professional League operates. Or through Zoom, a tool that was exploited in the pandemic and facilitates meetings in these modern times that no longer require face-to-face meetings. To define an election, a championship, a date or a time, everything has discussion. And since leaders often erase the regulations they write with their hands with their elbows, there are always twists and turns. This definition of the quarterfinals of the Professional League Cup was no exception.

Defense and Justice cried out in the sky on Sunday evening, when the victory against Patronato was still fresh. Sebastián Beccacece remarked: “Playing on Tuesday would be crazy, a nonsense, an abuse and we would lose seriousness”. The technician complained about the programming, which forced his team to face Boca, the second in Zone 2, 48 hours after the duel with the Entre Rios and with one day less rest than his powerful rival, who played on Saturday and won against Tigre in Victoria. And from that moment, a lobby began via WhatsApp that lasted from that same night until yesterday noon, when the League officially announced that there would be no modifications to what was previously scheduled: Tonight, Tuesday, the Falcon will visit the Bombonera from 9:30 p.m..

Beccacece returns to La Bombonera in a defining crossover. On December 23, 2020, he was eliminated by Boca managing Racing. Photo: EFE

The leaders of Racing and Aldosivi already knew on Sunday that their game would be played on Tuesday at 7:15 p.m. Without going any further, the people from Mar del Plata booked a ticket to fly to Buenos Aires at 6 pm and by dinner time they had already landed at the Jorge Newbery Airport. Estudiantes-Argentinos (19.15) and River-Tigre (21.30) will meet on Wednesday. It remained to resolve Boca-Defense and Justice. And there was a juicy behind the scenes that even included several calls to the highest levels of government.

“From the Minister down, they called everyone”, a Security source entrusted to Clarín, an organization that ended up being decisive. The City of Buenos Aires did not want River and Boca to play on the same day. Because one of the ideas of Claudio Tapia, boss of the AFA, was that all the games will be played on Wednesday. In this way, the formal request did not take place, but there were soundings. Near Chiqui they tested the ground. And the answer they found from was negative.

Gago will meet again with the Aldosivi players, now as Racing DT.  Photo: Juano Tesone

Gago will meet again with the Aldosivi players, now as Racing DT. Photo: Juano Tesone

The Minister of Security and Justice of Buenos Aires, Marcelo D’Alessandro, made it clear that the position was to prioritize the citizens and was not willing to have almost 2,000 troops to guard the parties of the two big ones. “There is no magic here, there is a planned jobwe are not going to put the safety of the neighbors at risk,” Guillermo Madero, Executive Director of the Football Safety Committee, told Clarín. And he emphasized: “We cannot change all the planning in 24 hours due to the request of a club, less putting the neighbors at risk. We have a responsibility and that is to do things well”.

As this newspaper was able to find out, those in charge of Security in CABA consider that they have the best police coverage to deal with operations at sports events. However, they did not want to give in to pressure.

This decision generated anger in the leaders. “If they can’t organize two police operations, why are they in charge?”, complained one of the referents of the clubs involved in the definition. And he even revealed that they are evaluating filing a complaint against the City. “You cannot organize a Copa Argentina match in Buenos Aires territory, it is outrageous”, roared the same manager.

The truth is that on Saturday, in Hurricane, the winners of Estudiantes-Argentinos and River-Tigre will play. And there will be an audience of both biases. 40 thousand spectators are estimated, depending on the protagonists of the semifinal. The League proposed the Tomás Adolfo Ducó stadium and Security accepted. It has a good capacity and easy access. It is close to the highway. Since May 29, 2016, a match has not been played with two fans. The last one was San Lorenzo-Lanús in the Monumental.

River receives Tigre at the Monumental on Wednesday at 9:30 p.m.  Photo: Marcelo Carroll

River receives Tigre at the Monumental on Wednesday at 9:30 p.m. Photo: Marcelo Carroll

The other semi will be resolved in Lanús between Racing or Aldosivi and Boca or Defense and Justice. It will also be on Saturday and with supporters of both clubs. Why wasn’t it played on Sunday? Because on Tuesday the ball rolls again in the Libertadores and the Sudamericana. Under this juncture, it was impossible to schedule a game later.

Defense and Justice was presented as the most affected by this situation. However, its president left a sentence that deserves analysis. “The League sent a plan to all the clubs that we had a chance of qualifying for. As a good cabulero I told them that I was going to see it on Sunday after 6 in the afternoon. I couldn’t complain about something that didn’t touch me. Yes, in the case of Newell’s, I knew that they had been considering that possibility because they were third, “confessed Diego Lemme in TyC Sports. And gave the feeling that he left everything to chance. Nobody expected such a resounding fall from Rosario, who lost their ticket to the quarterfinals against San Lorenzo and Gimnasia.

However, the leaders themselves raised their hands – among them those of Florencio Varela’s club – at the beginning of the year, when they voted to start the championship a week later. Then, the wave of Covid-19 had exploded and many footballers were infected. With the international cups ahead and the World Cup tightening the schedule, there weren’t too many options left.

In fact, the final has a venue, but no day or time. It will be played in Córdoba, but it is not defined if it will be Saturday or Sunday. It will depend on the clubs that dispute the title and if they have to play for the Cup during the week. So compressed is everything that the next championship will start on June 3. Yes, just a dozen days later

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