Venezuela does not have a soccer tradition. In fact, it has never even
come close to qualifying for the World Soccer Cup. Despite the Italian
and Spanish immigration of the 40,’s and 50’s, Venezuela has remained a
baseball country, due to the influence (and organization!) of the
American oil companies in the oil fields. Venezuelean soccer had improved
a little bit, but it was not until a coach named Richard Paez took over
about four or five years ago, that Venezuela really began improving.
In fact, the team improved so much that this is the first time that the
Venezuelan team has not been eliminated this early in the
qualifying year, with surprising victories against Paraguay and Uruguay.
Venezuela, for the first time ever has a chance, but….
The problem is politics,
even if this does not involve the Government at all, except that the
Supreme Court is involved. Basically, two groups are fighting for
control of the Venezuelan Soccer (Futbol) Federation. The 20 year old
President of the Federation saw his rule threatened and the Board
issued electoral rules that were not approved by all the members of the
Federation. Those opposing the current President went to the Courts and
the Electoral Hall (!) of the Venezuelan Supreme Court suspended the
elections. The problem is the FIFA has given the country until March
19th. to elect its new authorities. If it does not, Venezuela will not
be eligible to participate in the World Cup and the dream will be
shattered. This is because FIFA has rules that prohibits local
federations from resolving their conflicts via the Courts. The
Constitutional Court will hear arguments on the 12th. and if elections
are not held before the 19th. the two World Cup matches against Colombia and Bolivia that will take
place before the end of the month will be forfeited.
I have said it before, bunch of amateurs!