Maradona earns World Cup reprieve
The initial impediment, of course, was that Argentina might not qualify. It was tense, they left it late but got there in the end, securing their place with a last round 1-0 win away to Uruguay.
Then, in the post-match press conference, came the other possible impediment. Maradona has never been equipped for a career in the diplomatic corps. There is little filter between what he feels and what he says, and with qualification in the bag it all came out; all the stress of a difficult few months, all the hurt at the criticism that had come his way - all externalised in a foul mouthed diatribe aimed at the press.
When Fifa announced that it would be taking disciplinary action, the possibility existed that Maradona´s World Cup would be over before it had begun. One potential punishment was a five-game ban, to be served in official competitive matches.
This would have rendered Maradona unable to be on the touchline or in the dressing- room until the semi-finals of the World Cup. He almost certainly would have had to be replaced. What would be the point of having a coach who is unable to perform the function?
So the sword of Blatter-clese was hanging over Maradona - but has now been removed with the levity of the punishment. There is a small fine (just under £15,000) and a two-month ban from football activity - at a time when, with Argentina in high summer, there is little going on.
Maradona learned his fate at a disciplinary hearing in Zurich
A game against Catalonia is planned for late December, and Maradona will have to miss that one. But he will be back in action well before the next Fifa date, in March, when the build-up to South Africa continues with a high profile friendly away to Germany.
Has the incident affected his prestige in Argentina? I think it has, though his prestige would inevitably take a bruising from stepping into the job. In a nation of football coaches his team selections could not possibly please everyone.
Some were shocked by the crudeness of his outburst, and many parents were upset by requests from their children to explain what had been said. Also, offending the press is not usually a sound strategy for making friends and influencing people. He doesn't like criticism? Fine, but he can certainly give it. Local newspapers dug out the quotes from when Maradona had a go at previous national team coaches.
But there is also a section of the press that, in their admiration for him and in exchange for access and interviews, will forgive Maradona anything.
Just as, abroad, there are plenty who forgive him nothing. And so all balance is lost. He's either a deity or a madman who has taken charge of a world-class team and hurtled them straight towards the rocks.
The fact is that he inherited a team which, prior to the resignation of Alfio Basile, had won one of its last seven World Cup qualifiers. Under Maradona, with more difficult fixtures, they won four in eight. We can certainly be critical of some of his selections and substitutions, but there is no statistical basis for sacking him.
And now the Fifa punishment has been light, there is no disciplinary basis either. In fact it was a good few days for Maradona, who emerged strengthened from Saturday's friendly away to Spain, even though his side went down 2-1.
Firstly, the team clearly played for him. Argentina hauled themselves back into a match where they were being over-run. They showed more spirit and attitude than football - at times an excess of spirit when the tackles were flying. The key point, though, is that they did not roll over.
Secondly, Maradona took advantage of the half-time break to improve the side. After the interval, with defence and midfield closer together, it was much harder for Spain to play their way through. At times Maradona has wrecked his own team with bad half-time substitutions. This time, instead of panic changes, he came up with a sound positional adjustment.
Of course, the easier way to play an improved second half is to produce a very bad first one - and Argentina were totally dominated in the opening 45 minutes. I can't remember the last time I saw an Argentina side have so little of the ball. There is plenty of work to be done, because last Saturday's line-up is very unlikely to make a serious challenge for the World Cup.
A back four of Coloccini, De Michelis, Heinze and Ansaldi inspires little confidence, and with Veron rested for this match, there was no-one linking up properly with Messi. I tend to the view that, with a dearth of top class full-backs it might be better to play a back three, and pack central midfield. But that will be Diego Maradona´s decision - and the light punishment handed out by Fifa on Sunday would seem to ensure that he will be the man making the decisions for Argentina in next year's World Cup.