in April 1999 Fabian Madoran he couldn’t say he was gay. He officiated First Division football matches for two years and reached the highest rank of referee: Referee FIFA. The eyes that rested on him were far more than those that had seen him lead as a youth in the Chascomús Football League. Now he was on TV: they saw him First football every Sunday and on cable programs that scrutinized their performance during the week. The meteoric rise he played in Argentine football brought him out of the closet as a referee. Some of those eyes now fixed on him began to do so analyze their behavior off the field as well.
In April 1999 I was still a football referee. At the age of eighteen, I would go up and down the stairs of the Viamonte building every Friday, hoping to find out which play I would have to direct that weekend. Of course, they would not be the same as Fabian’s judges. In my case, the documents that were delivered to the AFA’s fourth floor window could say things like “GLORIES OF TIGER vs. ACASSUSO, Indoor Football, Categories 6th, 5th and 4th“. In addition, the trainee referees did not charge us for the work, we worked for free. However, it’s possible that my joy every time I was given one of these appointments topped Fabian’s joy when he was told he had to manage Boca or River.
The FIFA referee
In April 1999, Fabian Madoran’s sexuality was the talk of the AFA. I don’t think I need to explain how they did it. Fabian started appearing in the media to defend himself something that was put up as an accusation. He went through magazines, radio and television channels with a script: he had to deny his homosexuality. The interview published by The graphics there are grotesque questions: “Where does this slander come from?” “Did they cross you out of envy?”, “What do you want? You are a very good judge and, on top of that, you look “.
journalists Alfredo Alegre and Rodolfo Cedeira sign a clearly armed note. The number 4150 of The graphics ─April, 1999─ will feature a text by Madoran on the cover (“Crying for my fame as a homosexual”); the same cover will have at Chippy Barijo
surrounded by twelve cheerleaders: party of the mouth.
Fabián’s tour won’t end there. On the Youtube channel of SIGLA (Argentine Gay-Lesbian Integration Society) you can still see the interview that ATC ─also in 1999─ it does Guillermo Marconi, General Secretary of the Union of Sports Referees of the Republic of Argentinawith questions similar to those of journalists from The graphics and the same goal: to deny that there are homosexuals in the national football elite. Fabian Madoran plays his part well; knows the text and executes it without any problems. You may already be chipped: there are more than seventeen rules in the football rulebook.
By the end of 1999, I doubted my continuity in the judicial career. I was starting to deal with my own coming out and the message that came to Viamonte was loud: One or the other.
After much thought in 2000, I decided to resign. It helped me to talk to Javier Castrilli, whom he met at that time. He recently left the AFA slamming the door and denouncing bogus situations in court. It held me back at times when it was hard for me to know how to proceed. Even today I remember his words: “You are doing well to doubt.” Why would you give these guys the best years of your life if they won’t guarantee you anything either? One afternoon I spoke to my instructor at the referees union and I simply told him: I don’t want to continue. Like Fabian, I also cried that day.
Fabian Madoran adequately fulfilled the role that was written for him,
overcame media harassment and continued directing. Tours of Life, it was his turn to referee that 2002 match in which Santa Cruz, a Banfield player stuck his finger in Riquelme’s ass to try to get the ball away from him. The pair turned their backs on Fabian, who could not see Santa Cruz’s provocation and could only appreciate Roman’s obvious reaction: a punch that left the Banfield player lying on the grass.
Madoran sent off Riquelme: it was Boca’s first sending-off for a leg in more than one hundred and fifty matches.
In 2003 I was working in a call centre, a student and had left behind my (few) years as a football referee. Being in my box, I realized this a three-line telegram ended Fabian Madoran’s career. “Poor physical and technical ability”, said the statement that came to him. I found it amazing because of its crudeness: Technically, Fabian was better than most of his colleagues and he was never far from plays. The first thing I thought was: They kicked him out for the hell of it.
Madoran had a special attachment to the city of Cordoba. He traveled often and liked to stay there when he was appointed as a referee. After AFA kicked him out, he did two things: filed a lawsuit against him and asked for a business loan. He decided to open a profitable business at that time: cyber cafe. He received the money in Lanus, but before traveling he said he had been robbed. There was no shortage of people who said he had lost every penny at roulette. In any case, that seems to have been the trigger.
The chronicles of the time say that his friend, a Cordovan with an awkward name: Jorge Videla, told him to go there, that he would find a way out. On July 30, 2004, a bus leaving from Buenos Aires dropped off Fabian Madoran at the bus station in the city of Córdoba.
It was half past eight in the morning.
Two hours later, Fabian was dead.. These chronicles also say that he wrote a letter addressed to Jorge. It was categorical: without a chance to work, there was no point in continuing to live. He gave instructions for the care of his parents, now grown, and brother. He also thanked his friend for his warmth and “endurance” in elusive times.
He left the department of Balcarce and Boulevard Junín (today Boulevard Illia) and went to Parque Sarmiento. It was cold. Some people were already walking through the vast green space in front of the bus station, a few blocks from the Government Building. He found a spot he liked and sat under the trellis. He was wearing dark pants, black shoes and a jacket, and in one of his pockets was a nine-millimeter pistol. Fabian Madoran put the gun in his mouth and pulled the trigger. The quiet Friday morning was shaken by a crash. A man approached the small gazebo. He saw a corpse lying bloody on a bench and called the police. The policeman who arrived on the scene recognized him and covered him with some newspapers before the conifer field filled with onlookers. In the letter he left before taking his own life, Madoran paraphrased Diego Maradona when talking about the way the AFA got rid of him: “My legs were cut off”. He was thirty-nine years old.
The reasons which led Fabian to take his own life were known to him; The rest is guesswork explanations we usually seek to deal with the strangeness caused by suicide. What is not in dispute is that the AFA never made a mea culpa for the way in which it ignored the same judge that it had very shortly before contemplated and highlighted. He doesn’t remember what he should, despite being the only elite referee in Argentina to take his own life; much less opened the debate about homosexuals in local football. And today it is mission impossible to find an active player, active referee, manager or technical director from the closet. Fabian Madoran made redemption on behalf of others who, like me, were crushed by having to lead a “double life”. All these years, the same question kept hanging in the air: What was the use?
I remember hearing about Fabian’s suicide in the same call center where I worked and starting to cry a second time. Mine weren’t scripted tears, I felt like those youthful dreams, cut short too soon, were ripped from me again. I didn’t know Madoran personally. We only saw each other once in a gay bar and made eye contact without exchanging words.. I would like to talk to him to try to understand how he has survived a two-decade career in such a hostile environment.but it is already late. It’s been 18 years since his death and almost no one remembers him. Double dead. Meanwhile, the tournaments continued to happen. Even at a time when there was debate over who could access the games, Fabian Madoran’s suicide seemed to make something obvious with the power of epitaphs: football has never been for everyone.