Peruvian soccer is in a world of hurt.
That wasn't exactly a secret, but things hit rock bottom last week after FIFA's decision to ban Peru over government interference. While the news was awful on many levels, it just might be the smack in the face Peruvian soccer needs to straighten itself out after more than two decades of misery.
SBI correspondent GianFranco Panizo takes a closer look at the mess in Peru and whether or not it will be cleaned up in time to avoid serious damage to an already fragile soccer system:
Amid scandals, continuous talk of yet another coaching change and being in the basement of CONMEBOL's World Cup qualifying table, it was tough to imagine that things could get worse for the Peruvian national team. Worse is exactly what things got after FIFA announced its decision to ban Peru from all international competition last week due to a dispute between Peru's soccer federation (FPF) and the Peruvian government.
FIFA, which prohibits government interference, suspended all Peruvian clubs from playing internationally due to a debate that stemmed between the government's Institute of Sports (IPD) and the Peruvian federation over the appointment of FPF president Manuel Burga.
The ban has not only hurt the already tainted image of Peru, but it is also costing club teams a substantial amount of revenue.
"For the moment, we’ve lost $500,000 which we would have earned through qualifying for the (Copa)Libertadores.” said Universitario general manager German Leguia.
Even with the chaotic state that Peruvian soccer is currently in, the IPD has refused to negotiate with the FPF unless Burga is removed as president.
"If Burga's position is going to remain the same as before … this is a dialogue of the deaf," said IPD president Arturo Woodman.
Burga on the other hand has expressed his deepest sympathy to the public.
"I want to apologise for the Peruvian people for the situation which we are going through."
With the two sides so far apart, the FPF and IPD have until December 19, when the FIFA executive committee meets in Tokyo, to settle their differences. FIFA may just permanently ban Peru if the no compromise has been met.
"If they disaffiliate us altogether, things could get worse,” said Leguia.
This story is just the most recent embarassment for Peruvian soccer. Earlier this year Jose "Chemo" Del Solar's team suffered from another shameful story as the quartet of Claudio Pizarro, Jefferson Farfan, Andres Mendoza and Santiago Acasiete were accused of staying up past curfew, sneaking women into the hotel and partying the night away just two days prior to a World Cup qualifer at Ecuador. Peru ended up losing that game 5-1.
What's my take on this debacle? I think that these recent turn of events are just another blow to a once respected federation. Peru's national team, which was a promising side in the 70s and early 80s, has become a bottom feeder in the CONMEBOL and things don't look to be changing for the better anytime soon. It appears the whole federation needs to be revamped from the bottom-up.
To add to insult to injury, yesterday's match between two semi-professional teams ended in mayhem as fans caused a riot and even set a police car on fire. Early reports are saying around 100 people were injured.
It's safe to say that Peruvian soccer is in shambles.
What do you think of the Peruvian soccer crisis? Is FIFA out of line? Do you see this as a necessary step in order to help Peru straighten itself out?
Share your thoughts below.