By Chris Wright
The Argentinian Football Association (AFA) have confirmed that they will not be extending Diego Maradona‘s contract as coach of the national team, due to a dispute over his back-room team.
Maradona had stated that he was keen to stay on, but refused to agree to the AFA’s demands that wholesale changes were to be made to his support staff. The AFA executive committee then voted not to renew his deal.
After the meeting, AFA president Julio Grondona admitted his disappointment to the gathered media;
“It is difficult to agree. The hardest difference to agree on was changing some of Diego’s staff. Nobody has been sacked. A contract has not been extended because the conditions were not the suitable.”
When you cannot agree with somebody you love, you are not happy at all. I always want to talk to [Maradona], but sometimes it is difficult because this is not the best moment.”
The AFA have placed current U20s coach Sergio Batista in temporary charge of the senior side, and Grondona suggested that Batista (who guided the U23s to Olympic gold in 2008) may be handed the role permanently – although a shortlist of suitable candidates is yet to be drawn up;
“We have time to choose the technical staff. We have not thought about anybody yet. Batista is a member of the staff of this body so he will obviously fill the place as long as is needed.”
Estudiantes coach Alejandro Sabella and Racing Club boss Miguel Angel Rosso have also been mooted as potential successors to Maradona.