Colombia’s second most victorious soccer club in history, America de Cali, said Monday that after 14 years, the club will be removed from a United States sanctions list for drug traffickers.
America de Cali president, Oreste Sangiovanni, said he was notified on Monday that by Wednesday April 3 the team will be off the so-called “Clinton List” which blocks their assets and generally prohibits U.S. persons from doing business with them.
“With this measure we are returning to the financial and commercial civilization,” stated Andres Botero, the director of the Colombian Institute of Sport (Coldeportes).
The Specialty Designated Nationals List, commonly known as the Clinton List, was enacted in 1995 and blocked assets and prohibited transactions with significant narcotics traffickers.
According to the U.S. Treasury, America de Cali was officially designated a SDN in 1999 because of the team’s ties to the infamous Rodriguez Orejuela brothers who controlled the now defunct Cali Cartel. As a result, the U.S. government froze all of the club’s U.S. based assets (nearly $1 million) and banned any company affiliated with the club from doing business in the U.S.
Since the sanctions, the team has had to rely on ticket revenue and merchandise sales in order to sustain their enterprise because no sponsorship deals could be signed.
According to a Caracol Radio report from November 2012, America de Cali is currently over $7 million in debt and in 2011, the team faced punishment from the national government for failure to pay player wages.
A club who in 1996 was ranked second in the world by the International Federation of Football History and Statistics (IFFHS) has since dropped to the second division in Colombia – a country that has seen a drop in competitiveness overall in a league once heavily influenced by drug money.
America de Cali’s president is hopeful that the end of U.S. sanctions will help put the club back on its feet.
“There are many stakeholders due to the large number of fans of the team of the capital of Valle [Cali, Valle del Cauca]. We will accept sponsorships or strategic allies because, what the team requires, are resources to guarantee its future,” said Sangiovanni.
- Luego de 16 anos, America de Cali saldra de la lista Clinton (Caracol Radio)
- Es oficial, America de Cali esta afuera de la Lista Clinton (Terra)
- America de Cali: From curses, copas, and cocaine to Clinton, crisis, and collapse (South American Futbol)
- Executive Order 12978 (U.S. Treasury documents)
- America de Cali debe 13 mil millones de pesos en deudas laborales y fiscales (Caracol)
- Economic Sanctions Against Colombian Drug Cartels: Impact Report 2007 (U.S. Treasury)