The Argentine football federation approved a deal with the government to broadcast games free on television, a week after it tore up a contract with a private cable TV provider.
The start of the new season has been delayed due to a financial crisis that drove the Argentine Football Association (AFA) to scrap its previous broadcasting deal because the company refused to pay more for the television rights.
However, AFA said in a statement that its executive committee had approved a plan “for games to be broadcast free on non-cable television.” It said the details had yet to be confirmed, but that the season would begin at the weekend.
The agreement marks the latest in a string of government moves to exert state control of various economic sectors.
Media speculation of a deal between the AFA and President Cristina Fernandez in recent days has drawn criticism from the opposition, which says her move into football is a a cynical act aimed at increasing her personal popularity.
The previous broadcast contract was held by the TSC media group – a partnership between TyC sports broadcaster media conglomerate Clarin, whose daily newspaper has been increasingly critical of her government.
Argentina’s season had been due to start on August 14 but AFA chiefs halted it after the union representing footballers said clubs owed players about $8 million.
AFA spokesman Ernesto Cherquis Bialo said the first games of the season would now take place on Friday.
“The channels that will broadcast the games and the times that this will happen will be decided at a meeting tomorrow (Wednesday),” he told reporters.