Lower House Speaker Sergio Massa has sparked a new scandal, after revealing that the state-owned AySA waterworks company held a multi-million-peso contract with the Boca Juniors football club.
The Peronist politician denounced this week that during the Mauricio Macri presidency, AySA paid a monthly 3.2 million pesos to invite journalists to matches at the club’s famous La Bombonera stadium. Massa obtained this information courtesy of his wife, Malena Galmarini, who has headed the company since last month’s change of government.
Massa charged that this misallocation contributed to the utility’s deficit of 14 billion pesos, stressing that the press freebie would have been better spent servicing the households still lacking running water.
On Thursday, Perfil obtained a copy of the contract between AySA and Boca dated last August 15, which confirmed the deal but sharply deflated the proposed sum to two million pesos over 12 months as from last October. Boca invoiced AySA last September 3 in accordance with this contract but Galmarini promptly nixed any payment in her first week at the helm of the waterworks.
The contract, signed by Boca commercial executive Juan Cruz González Vieta, offers AySA and/or journalists six club seats with access to the Filiperto VIP lounge for all local and international tournaments but not concerts, friendly games or international matches featuring Argentina’s football squad.
The transport costs of guests are covered by the agreement, which also throws in 30 tickets annually offering free admission to the Pasión Boquense museum and three signed football shirts.
The same day Boca’s new president Jorge Amor Ameal – who last month ended 23 years of control of the club by ex-president Mauricio Macri and his associates – deplored the deal as “very sad and incomprehensible,” adding that it did Boca “no good.”
Ameal said that he would be launching an internal probe into the scandal.
Press invitations by the big clubs like Boca or River Plate are common practice but they are generally funded by private firms and not the tax-payer.