The legendary Argentinean, Diego Maradona, could lose his position as FIFA Ambassador after his questionable antics involving Nigerian fans. Maradona was observed passing out in the stands during the game between Nigeria and Argentina last Tuesday. He had to be held up during the Argentina national anthem and was also seen staggering about in his private box at the St. Petersburg Stadium in Russia. He had reportedly been drinking white wine and his behaviour is believed to be alcohol-induced.
The worst of his behaviour included him raising both of his middle fingers towards Nigerian fans after Rojo’s goal at the game between the two nations, as well as cursing at the fans of the opposition. Argentina won the match in a 2-1 victory, and Rojo’s goal was scored in the 86th minute of the game.
Shortly after, Maradona was assisted by healthcare professionals at the stadium and was taken away. There were reports that he had been taken to hospital resulting in gossip circulating that he had died.
Maradona denied such rumours by posting on social media: "I want to tell everyone I am fine, and I was not taken to the hospital. At half-time, my neck hurt and I had a faint. I was checked by a doctor, and he recommended me to go home, but I wanted to stay because we were risking it all. How could I leave?"
He received an official invitation to the game against Iceland but continued his antics by smoking a cigar in the non-smoking stadium, which he later apologised for.
He also allegedly made racist comments towards South Korean fans and pulled his eyelids to the side. Explaining the incident, Maradona said on Facebook "an Asian boy wearing an Argentina T-shirt. I, from afar, tried to tell them how nice it seemed to me that even the Asians cheer for us. And that's all, guys, come on."
The Role of FIFA Ambassador
Maradona attained his role as FIFA Ambassador last year in 2017. The position pays an impressive £110,000 per year as well as expenses for each public appearance. Further to this, Maradona recently made a claim stating that he is paid £10,000 for each game that he attends.
While nothing is set in stone as to what will happen to Maradona, there is much speculation that he will be stripped from his role as FIFA Ambassador. The governing body commented that they had taken note of his behaviour, but no further comment was made. At this stage, he is being closely monitored.
FIFA does not condone any discrimination by teams, officials, and fans at their matches and it appears as if their ambassador is not acting as the best role model for soccer fans. Fans have gone to social media to complain about Maradona’s behaviour, with many accusing him of doing drugs and being racist. What's more is that Argentinean supporters expressed their displeasure in their nation’s football legend’s terrible behaviour.