Grondona in 2009.
|Born||Julio Humberto Grondona
September 18, 1931
|Died||July 30, 2014
Buenos Aires, Argentina
|Occupation||Chairman of AFA (1979-2014)
Vice-President of FIFA (1988-2014)
Julio Humberto Grondona (September 18, 1931 – July 30, 2014) was an Argentine football executive. He served as president of the Argentine Football Association (Asociación del Fútbol Argentino) from 1979 until his death in 2014. He also served as Senior Vice-President of FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association).
Arsenal Fútbol Club
Julio Grondona's career in football began in 1956, when he and his brother Héctor founded Arsenal Fútbol Club, inspired by the homonymous English side, in Sarandí, Avellaneda, Buenos Aires. The team's colours, light blue and red, were chosen as a combination of the two most important clubs in Avellaneda, Racing Club and Independiente.
Grondona was president of the club for nearly twenty years, from 1957 to 1976, when he was elected president of Club Atlético Independiente. Under his leadership the club was promoted from the lowest rank in the Argentine football league system, the Primera D, in 1962 and once again in 1964, when the team won the Primera C title.
Club Atlético Independiente
While holding the Arsenal presidency, he also held positions in neighboring club Independiente, where he was elected as chair of the professional football subcommittee in 1962. While he was in that role, the team won the 1963 Argentine Primera División, the Copa Libertadores in 1964 and 1965 and the Campeonato Nacional in 1967.
In 1970 his Lista Roja lost the club's elections, and he left the club until his return as president in 1976, when he defeated the ruling José Epelbóim in the elections. Under Grondona, Independiente won the 1977 Campeonato Nacional in Córdoba against locals Talleres with eight players on the pitch, and the 1978 Campeonato Nacional, beating River Plate in the final.
Argentine Football Association
During his tenure Argentina reached three World Cup finals (all of them against Germany, winning in 1986 and losing in 1990 and 2014), three Olympic finals (obtaining the silver medal in Atlanta 1996 and gold in Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008) and won six FIFA U-20 World Cups (1979, 1995, 1997, 2001, 2005 and 2007).
Grondona caused controversy in 2003 when, in response to a journalist's question about referee standards in Argentina, he said: "I do not believe a Jew can ever be a referee at this level. It's hard work and you know, Jews don't like hard work." In another incident, he went on record saying "Jews don't like it when it gets rough".
On May 31, 2011, in an interview with German press, when asked about who he voted for to receive the 2018 and 2022 World Cup hosting rights Grondona said, "Yes, I voted for Qatar, because a vote for the US would be like a vote for England, and that is not possible [...] But with the English bid I said: Let us be brief. If you give back the Islas Malvinas (Falkland Islands), which belong to us, you will get my vote. They then became sad and left.". Grondona later apologized for his attack on England.
In 2014 his son, Humberto, a FIFA official, admitted illegally selling on tickets for games at the World Cup in Brazil.
On June 2nd, 2015, FIFA blamed Julio Grondona for approving, in 2007, currupt payments at the center of the United States Department of Justice investigation that led to the 47-count indictment against soccer officials and sports marketing executives.
- Biography of Julio Grondona at FIFA.com
- "Murió Julio Grondona" at CanchaLlena.com
- "Argentine FA chief Grondona dies" at SBS.com
- "Julio Grondona, en frases" at Clarín, 30 Jul 2014
- "Jose Pekerman, former Maccabi player, seeks World Cup glory" on The Times of Israel
- "Grondona niega vender su voto en FIFA" at ESPN.com
- "Fifa's Julio Grondona apologises for 'unacceptable' attack on England". The Guardian. The Guardian.
- "Son of Fifa vice-president Julio Grondona caught up in ticket scandal". Guardian. Retrieved 5 July 2014.
- "FIFA blames Julio Grondona for authorizing USD 10M payments to support African diaspora in Caribbean countries". FIFA. Retrieved 2 June 2015.