The head of the Argentine Football Association (AFA) and second-in-command of the FIFA international football governing body passed away at the Sanatorio Mitre private medical center where he had been hospitalized for a cardiac failure earlier on Wednesday.
Julio Humberto Grondona was 82 years old and had been in charge of the Argentine FA organization for 35 years.
The 82-year-old AFA boss had been hospitalized at the Sanatorio Mitre private medical center located in the Buenos Aires City neighborhood of Once where he underwent surgery for an aortic aneurysm.
AFA’s Vice-President Luis Segura, Second Deputy President Juan Carlos Crespi and Director General of National Teams Carlos Bilardo approached the Mitre clinic as news about Grondona’s death was confirmed.
Grondona had been in charge of the Argentine FA organization since 1979. In 1986 Argentina won the World Cup played in Mexico.
The Association of Argentine Football (AFA) decreed a 7-day-mourn following the death of Grondona. The first date of the Argentine national tournament - which had been set to start on Saturday - has been suspended.
Grondona’s funeral will be held at the training facility of the Argentine FA located in the Buenos Aires province locality of Ezeiza but no date has been yet confirmed.
FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter expressed his dismay at the news, stating, “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 organization, as he was one of its key figures.”
Grondona, who began his career as a football executive by founding Sarandi-based Arsenal in 1956, was named head of the AFA on 6 April 1979, a position he held until his death, a lengthy tenure that demonstrated his importance within the game in Argentina. He also served as President of Independiente between 1976 and 1981.
A member of FIFA’s Executive Committee since 1988, his previous duties included chairing the governing body’s Finance Committee, in addition to his role of Senior Vice-President. “On behalf of FIFA, I would like to extend our sincere condolences to Julio’s family,” said President Blatter.