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SPORTS | 08-11-2023 21:43

Macri challenges Riquelme in battle for control of Boca Juniors

Former president Mauricio Macri will run for the vice-presidency of Boca Juniors in the December 2 club elections, directly challenging Juan Román Riquelme's leadership of iconic club.

Former Argentina president Mauricio Macri will run for the vice-presidency of Boca Juniors In the upcoming December 2 club elections, directly challenging the leadership of former player and current post-holder Juan Román Riquelme. 

The heavyweight showdown was confirmed on Wednesday by the head of the opposition ticket, Andrés Ibarra, who is running for club president.

"We have been talking for some time. Finally, his [Macri’s] decision was to join me on the ticket and we are working with the rest of the list," Ibarra, who served as a government official in Macri’s 2015-2019 administration, told Radio 10 in an interview.

Ibarra, a former national modernisation minister, is a long-time ally of Macri.

Macri, 64, served as president of Boca Juniors for 12 years, between 1995 and 2007. Using the club as a springboard for national politics, he was twice elected mayor of Buenos Aires City (serving two terms from 2007-2015) before going on to serve as head of state.

The businessman’s tenure at the helm of Boca included a trophy-laden spell for the men’s adult side: six domestic titles between 1998 and 2006, an impressive four Copa Libertadores crowns (2000, 2001, 2003 and 2007) and two intercontinental trophies in 2000 and 2003.

Confirmation of Macri's bid to return to the Xeneize leadership comes four days after Boca slumped to a 2-1 defeat against Fluminense in the 2023 Libertadores final in Rio de Janeiro.

Boca Juniors as an institution is currently presided over by Jorge Ameal, but the professional football side of operations is run by Riquelme, the club’s vice-president. 

Riquelme, 45, has a chequered history with Macri and the duo have been in open confrontation for years, dating back to the playmaker’s playing career. The club’s current leadership has yet to confirm its ticket, though local press speculate the former number 10 himself will head it himself.

Macri is expected to formally announce his candidacy next Monday, after Boca host Newell’s Old Boys at La Bombonera. The former president met with club allies over the weekend to communicate his decision. 

Despite his move into frontline politics, Macri is known to have been closely involved with the club and has never cut ties with the institution, supporting his favoured colleagues and allies in their bid to take over the club’s leadership.

As many as 350,000 club members could technically cast a vote in the elections, though they must meet the eligibility criteria (length of membership, fees due, waiting list) in order to cast a ballot.

Among the issues up for debate is where the club’s football team will play in the years to come and whether a new stadium should be built to replace the legendary Bombonera.



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