In a letter made public by ‘Marca’, the footballers support Morientes as an alternative to preside over the AFE

80% of the captains of the First and Second Divisions have signed a letter demanding the “immediate resignation” of David Aganzo and Diego Rivas, President and Secretary General of the Association of Spanish Soccer Players (AFE), respectively. In the letter to which the newspaper ‘Marca’ has had access, union members also support Fernando Morientes as an alternative to direct AFE. This movement comes after Aganzo and Rivas were accused of bribery by former union employee Antonio Saiz Checa, in the context of the alleged illicit obtaining of financial information from the minority union, Futbolistas On. The letter has the support of a large part of AFE affiliates.

“This whole situation has caused us great outrage. We cannot tolerate our union being linked with corruption, with ‘bribes’ to public officials, with perjury or with dictatorial attitudes”say the footballers, who claim that for these reasons they have lost” all confidence in Aganzo and Rivas, who demand that they have “minimal decency” and cease their positions. Otherwise, they demand that the AFE board of directors force their departure. They also emphasize that they support Morientes, whom they consider “a leader who brings together the consensus of all of us” and who is asked to take “a step forward to help AFE.” ‘Marca’ also includes statements by footballers such as Piqu, Joaqun, Iborra and Suso supporting the statement.

Thus, the civil war that has broken out this week in the AFE is unleashed and depending on who is asked, it has various explanations. Some claim that everything is the consequence of a strategy devised by Luis Rubiales to overthrow David Aganzo, whom he designated as his successor in the union presidency and with whom he is now openly confronted. Others point to Javier Tebas, whose relations with the union have always been strained, and point out that the campaign for Fernando Morientes to relieve him is sponsored by LaLiga. There are also those who believe that Aganzo has held the presidency of the AFE with authoritarianism and practices that border on what is not permitted and break the law, and that all this is simply a consequence of a despotism that he is now paying for.

Whatever the real explanation, the facts are enough to conclude that the AFE is immersed in a civil war in which Aganzo refuses to give in, despite being judicially cornered and having less internal support every day, with the last minute blow of the footballers’ letter. The board of directors that the union celebrates this Friday will be key to its future development. After the resignations a month ago of David de Gea and Juan Mata, there are 11 executives, of whom five are against Aganzo, something that has been reflected in a complaint for unfair administration, bribery and revelation of secrets. Aganzo had planned to appoint two new managers to resist in office, but after the footballers’ letter everything can change.

The conflict has now broken out, but it has been brewing for almost three years. David Aganzo joined the AFE as a manager and employee in December 2015, months after hanging up his boots. When Luis Rubiales left the presidency of the union to opt for the RFEF, in November 2017, appointed Aganzo as successor, who inherited much of his work team. The reason for this appointment, later ratified by the general assembly, was to give continuity to the line of work of recent years. At some point, however, everything breaks down. Aganzo tries to establish his own profile and the union’s unity is divided between those who support him and those who advocate continuity from the previous stage.

Footballers On

In this context, the events that occurred in April 2019 are reached. The treasurer of Footballers On, the minority union, resigns suddenly. Surprised by the decision, Futbolistas On decides to order an expert opinion from their laptop, which reveals that the economic data of the union had been extracted a day before the resignation. Later, from the minority union they explain that prominent members of the AFE leadership used the stolen information to try to discredit them before the soccer players during the union elections in the First and Second locker rooms.

The case, prosecuted for months, took on a new dimension after the publication on Tuesday of the Letter of Antonio Saiz Czech, a former AFE employee, confessing that, with the knowledge of Aganzo and his general secretary, Diego Rivas, they paid 3,000 euros to an official (allegedly the husband of the former treasurer of Futbolistas On) to illegally obtain that information. For what? To try to show that we were a yellow union, that we were financed by LaLiga. Obviously, they did not find that information because it is a lie, they say from Futbolistas On. Aganzo now faces a charge for bribery on which the judge of Alcobendas who is handling the case will pronounce in a few days.

Both Aganzo and Rivas have denied Saiz’s accusations – against which they have sued for slander – and are trying to close ranks with their faithful to stay in charge of the union, ruling out the possibility of resigning, at least until this Thursday. However, the sector contrary to his management has already put on the table the name of Fernando Morientes, with no experience in the union, who lets himself be loved and who has the backing, already public, of many First and Second captains to set himself up as an alternative to Aganzo. To do this, the critical sector of the AFE will try to promote a motion of censure, an initiative that was already raised last summer, but that ultimately failed. Aganzo’s resignation would pave the way.

And the worst thing about the earthquake, surely, is that it was unleashed at the most inopportune moment possible. With the football coming out of the break caused by the pandemic, the next obstacle will be that of the concentrations of the soccer players. LaLiga intends that they occur as soon as possible and until the end of the competition, to safeguard the health of the players and the viability of the championships. Footballers flatly refuse extreme confinements, in which they would only be allowed to leave a hotel room to eat, train and play. A very bad moment for a disunity that the sources consulted consider unsolvable while Aganzo continues as president of the AFE.

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