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Audit: $128m embezzled from CONMEBOL

CONMEBOL
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Sevilla's Jorge Sampaoli 'not aware' of meeting with Argentina chiefs

Sid Lowe explains how the Argentine FA's aim for Jorge Sampaoli to become head coach has negatively impacted Sevilla.

Sevilla coach Jorge Sampaoli says he is not aware of reports that a meeting took place in Barcelona between his lawyer, Fernando Baredes, and the Argentina Football Association (AFA) president Claudio Tapia, over the weekend.

Sampaoli, under contract with Sevilla until June 2018, is reported to be the main candidate to take over the vacant Argentina coaching position following Edgardo Bauza's sacking earlier this month.

TyC Sports has reported that Baredes was seen in Barcelona's Hotel Arts on Sunday, where Tapia is staying, and that the two met for around two-and-a-half hours in a hotel room.

According to the Argentine sports channel, Tapia has offered Sampaoli a one-year contract, with an option to extend the deal until the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

Asked about it, Sampaoli told a news conference after his team's goalless draw at Valencia on Sunday: "I'm not aware of the meeting you speak about. I haven't had any meetings with anyone.

"Regarding other people's meetings, they should talk about it. I already spoke about my future on Friday ... I don't know what to say because nothing has changed with respect to Friday."

Chile head coach Jorge Sampaoli's tactics were spot against Argentina in the Copa America final.
Jorge Sampaoli is a man in demand after his good work with Chile and Sevilla.

Sevilla warned the AFA last week that any meeting with Sampaoli would be "unacceptable." 

The former Chile manager, who joined Sevilla last summer, has also been a reported target of Netherlands and has been linked to Barcelona and Arsenal as well.

Luis Enrique is to leave Barca after the season and Arsene Wenger has yet to confirm if he will remain in charge of Arsenal.

Sampaoli said last Friday that media speculation regarding his future would not distract him from his task and reiterated his commitment to Sevilla.

"I'm focused on the six games the team has left to achieve a very important aim for Sevilla, a club that placed its trust in me," he said.

"We want to fight for the Champions League qualifying positions until the end."

Sevilla offered Sampaoli a one-year contract extension earlier this year but the coach has yet to accept it. He can leave the Spanish club this summer provided his €1.5 million release clause is met.

Sevilla are fourth in the standings, three points adrift of third-place Atletico Madrid, who hold the last direct Champions League qualifying spot, with six games remaining.

Sampaoli's side hosts second-bottom Granada on Friday.

Adriana Garcia is a Valencia-based football writer who covers La Liga for ESPN FC.

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