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The path to political power through football

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Argentina's new centre-right president Maurico Marci is the former chairman of leading club Boca Juniors. This is not a coincidence: he consciously used it as a route to political power.

In the Financial Times weekend magazine Simon Kuper revealed how Marci addressed a meeting in Oxford 14 years ago to explain how he planned to parlay his success with Boca Juniors into a political career.   He applied business principles, took a risk by getting rid of some popular players, and brought success.

Kuper notes, 'In Oxford he presented himself as an unabashed manipulator of less rational beings. "The football environment is very primitive." he told us.  Marci's strategy was to steer other people's vanity and emotion.'

Boca is supposedly supposed by fifty per cent plus one of Argentinians.   Even the fans of rivals River Plate had grudging respect for Boca's chairman.   Argentina is a populist country mad about football. Marci became a congressman, mayor of Buenos Aires and then defeated the entrenched Peronists to become president.

Pope Francis, arguably as much a politician as a prelate, regularly talks about his beloved San Lorenzo football club.   Silvio Berlusconi moved from running AC Milan to taking charge of Italy.