Last week really tested the strength of Argentine polo, and certain events may well have changed the history of modern polo in the country, for several reasons. First of all, the brilliant leaders of the Association of Argentine Polo (AAP) have manifested their conciliatory intentions while standing firm against challenges.
The events that began on Thursday and went on until Saturday were very intense. After a meeting on Thursday, the Tortugas organisation jumped the gun and announced something the AAP had not yet confirmed: that the semifinals of the Tortugas Open would be played on Saturday in Pilar. This lead the media – with the exception of PoloLine – to share the news without confirming such with the AAP. The news did not go down well with Argentina’s governing body of polo.
The next day, during the final of the Torneo Remonta y Veterinaria the APP released a statement saying that the fields in Pilar were not suitable for the semifinals of the Tortugas Open on Saturday. This lead to much confusion.
The AAP and the respective players of the pending semifinal lobbied for the matches to be played at Palermo, or on private grounds, if the fields at Tortugas Country Club should not be up to par. Both the business behind Tortugas and the directors organising the tournament showed opposition to these negotiations.
The players and the AAP decided to play at Palermo on Saturday; the day was a great success, both in terms of attendance and level of play. It was a day to promote polo and invite people to watch the best polo in the world free of charge. This series of events is likely to affect the way in which the Triple Crown is played in the future.
WHAT’S TO COME
There are two possibilities. On one hand, the Tortugas organisation could take Saturday’s Palermo results as official, even though previously stating they would do no such thing. In the case that the scheduled semifinals are not played on Tuesday and Wednesday, the Tortugas organisation will be left with no negotiating power. They either accept that La Dolfina and Ellerstina play the final on their fields, with their sponsors, or they will not be able to offer that game to their sponsors. If this happens, the AAP will be in a position to organise the first final of the 2017 Triple Crown.
PoloLine understands that last week’s series of events have generated two factors. On one hand, proof that the former President of the Argentine Polo Association has no support or power within the organisation. On the other, that as of next year, the AAP will organise the Triple Crown in its entirety. This is a logical step, since private interests must never be more important than those of the sport, particularly when it comes to modifying a fixture, be it the time or the location of the match.
Either the organisers of Tortugas and Hurlingham work together with the AAP, or the AAP will organise two new tournaments in which high goal teams will take part, since the top players are currently part of the organisation and would support this motion.
Change had come to stay; the wind in blowing in favour of the sport, and Argentine polo will never be the same again.