FIFA Vice-President Julio Grondona Dies at 82

July 31, 2014

The president of the Argentine Football Association (AFA) and FIFA vice-president Julio Grondona has died at the age of 82 in a Buenos Aires clinic.

The all-powerful figure, who had been in charge of Argentine football since 1979, had been taken to hospital suffering from heart problems and died while undergoing emergency surgery.

Grondona had been a FIFA Executive member since 1988 and was appointed to the head of AFA nine years earlier by the country’s military government.

He had been successfully re-elected by clubs to continue governing football in the South American nation every four years since 1979.

FIFA President Sepp Blatter wrote on Twitter: “I feel a great personal sense of loss, because he was a lifelong friend. But it is also a huge blow for FIFA as an organisation, as he was one of its key figures.”

Argentina superstar Lionel Messi said via his Facebook page: “It’s a very sad day for football, for all of Argentina and for me. Our president, Julio Grondona, you have left us. I want to send my sincere condolences and a large hug to all his family members and friends.”

His time in charge saw Argentina win the World Cup in Mexico in 1986, the Copa America in 1991 and 1993 and Olympic gold in 2004 and 2008.

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