Duo deny Maradona claims
Grondona and Bilardo protest innocence
Last Updated: 29/07/10 4:59pm
Bilardo: Standing firm
Argentina football chief Julio Grondona and team manager Carlos Bilardo have both strongly denied accusations of deceit and betrayal aimed at them by former coach Diego Maradona.
Maradona launched a scathing attack on the Argentine Football Association (AFA) chiefs on Wednesday, blaming the pair for plotting his downfall after the World Cup.
The controversial 49-year-old claimed that Grondona had assured him his job was safe after the 4-0 World Cup quarter-final defeat by Germany, only to be later told his services were no longer required.
President Grondona, however, disputed Maradona's version of their conversation in South Africa.
"I continue to regret that he's gone because it's very sad but I never lied to Maradona," he said.
"I told him in Pretoria that I was satisfied and that he could stay on, but that the conditions would not be the same, that he had to make some vital changes."
Bilardo, who Maradona claimed "worked in the shadows to kick me out" also denied any wrongdoing, adding: "The AFA is a serious business, you can't invite your mates to come to your place of work.
"Diego had everything that he wanted, he could turn up with whoever he wanted, up to the goalkeeping coach."
Maradona, who took charge in October 2008, has been temporarily replaced by U20 coach Sergio Batista, who will lead the national team for the 11th August friendly against Republic of Ireland in Dublin.
Names linked with the role on a full-time basis include Estudiantes coach Alejandro Sabella and Miguel Angel Russo of Racing Club.