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Football: Argentine football chief Grondona dies

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

BUENOS AIRES: Julio Grondona, the veteran president of the Argentine Football Association (AFA) and FIFA vice-president, died on Wednesday (July 30) at the age of 82 in a Buenos Aires clinic.

The all-powerful figure, who had been in charge of Argentine football since 1979, was rushed to hospital early on Wednesday but died shortly after midday before doctors could carry out surgery.

"Julio Humberto Grondona has died, one of this continent's most distinguished directors of recent times in the management of the Argentine Football Association," CONMEBOL said. In a statement, it sent its condolences to Grondona's family and everyone involved in Argentine football. 

FIFA president Sepp Blatter wrote on Twitter: "Very sad at the loss of a great friend. Julio Grondona has left us at 82 years of age. Today I embrace his family. Rest in peace."  

Earlier this week, he had held meetings with Alejandro Sabella, who decided not to continue as Argentina coach after leading the team to the World Cup final in Brazil recently.

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.

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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