Football is Argentina’s most popular sport, the one with the most players and is the most popular recreational sport, played from childhood into old age. The percentage of Argentines that declare allegiance to an Argentine football club is about 90%, Football was introduced to Argentina in the later half of the 19th century by the British immigrants in Buenos Aires. The first Argentine league was contested in 1891, making it the fifth oldest recognised league of a FIFA member, the Argentine Football Association was formed in 1893 and is the eighth oldest in the world. The Argentine national team is one of the eight to have won the football World Cup, having done so in 1978 and 1986, and also being runner-up in 1930,1990, and 2014. They have also won the top tournament, the Copa América, on fourteen occasions. The nations Olympic representative has won two Gold Medals, while the team has won a record six U-20 World Cups. At club level, Argentine teams have won the most Intercontinental Cups, women’s football has a national league since 1991, the Campeonato de Fútbol Feminino. In turn, the national representative qualified for the World Cup for the first time in 2007. In futsal, Argentina were FIFUSA/AMF Futsal World Cup champions in 1994 and they also compete in the FIFA code of futsal, where they finished third in the 2004 FIFA Futsal World Cup. The team also won the FIFA Futsal Copa América in 2003, moreover, Argentina was world champion in futsal for the visually impaired in 1998. Argentina also compete in the beach football World Cup, where their best finish was third in 2001. British citizens founded social and sports clubs where they could practise their sports, such as bowls, cricket, football, golf, horse riding, rugby union and tennis amongst others. Two English immigrants Thomas and James Hogg organized a meeting on 9 May 1867 in Buenos Aires where the Buenos Aires Football Club was founded. The first recorded match in Argentina took place on this pitch on 20 June 1867. This newspaper, published in Argentina, was the first one to cover football matches in the country, the game was played between two teams of British merchants, the White Caps and the Red Caps. In the 19th century it was practice for teams to be distinguished by caps rather than jerseys.
The Primera División is the country’s premier football division and is at the top of the Argentine football league system. It operates on a system of promotion and relegation with the Primera B Nacional (second division), with the teams placed lowest at the end of the season being relegated. The season runs from August to May.
In 1891 Argentina was the first country outside the United Kingdom to establish a football league. In the early years, only teams from Buenos Aires and Rosario were affiliated to the national association. Teams from other cities would join in later years.
The Primera División turned professional in 1931 when 18 clubs broke away from the amateur leagues to form a professional one. Since then, the season has been contested annually in four different formats and calendars. The league has been under its current format since the 2015 season.
The Argentine championship was ranked in the top 10 as one of the strongest leagues in the world (for 1 January 2015 – 31 December 2015 period) by the International Federation of Football History & Statistics (IFFHS). Argentina placed 4th after La Liga (Spain), Serie A (Italy) and Bundesliga (Germany).
There are 26 teams competing in the 2018–19 season, with all of them playing each other in a single round-robin tournament (a total of 25 rounds). The “Fecha de clásicos” (and additional local derby match) was again dismissed for the current season.
The winner of the “Superliga” is awarded with a trophy launched especially for the occasion. The cup was designed by renowned goldsmith Adrián Pallarols. Apart from the trophy for the winning team, commemorative medals were also launched to award their players.
As 2017–18 champion, Boca Juniors was the first team awarded with the Superliga trophy.
Relegation is based on an averaging system. At the end of the season, the four teams with the worst three-year averages are relegated, while the winner and runner-up of Primera B Nacional championship are promoted to Primera.
The Primera División champion gains a place to play the Supercopa Argentina v. the winner of Copa Argentina.
As of 2017–18, five teams from Argentina are eligible to play the Copa Libertadores. The champion of Primera División automatically qualifies for the tournament. The other four teams best placed in the table at the end of the tournament (2nd to 5th) are also eligible to play the Cup. Teams placed 2nd to 4th in the table qualify to play the group stage while the team placed 5th will enter to the first stage of the competition.
For the Copa Sudamericana, six teams are eligible. Clubs placed 6th to 11th in the table at the end of the tournament, will play the cup.
Starting August 2014, the “Torneo de Transición” was held, with 20 teams participating (17 from the 2013–14 season and 3 promoted from the 2013–14 Primera B Nacional). No teams were relegated at the end of the championship.
In 2015 the format switched to a tournament with 30 teams. The first five clubs of the Zonas A & B of 2014 Primera B Nacional season promoted to the Primera División. Those 10 teams, with the addition of the 20 clubs currently participating in the top division, qualified to contest the next season.
That same year, the AFA announced the format for the next five seasons of the Primera División:
- In the first half of 2016, the league was contested between thirty teams. One team was relegated to and one team was promoted from Primera B Nacional.
- From August 2016 to June 2017, the league was contested between thirty teams. Four teams were relegated to and two teams were promoted from Primera B Nacional.
- From August 2017 to June 2018, the league will be contested between twenty-eight teams. Four teams will be relegated to and two teams will be promoted from Primera B Nacional. This season will be the first Superliga Argentina.
- From August 2018 to June 2019, the league will be contested between twenty-six teams. Four teams will be relegated to and two teams will be promoted from Primera B Nacional.
The goal is to reduce back the quantity of teams to 20 in 2020.
As reported via Reuters: JANUARY 13, 2018
BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) – Argentina will end their complicated system of relegating teams with the lowest points average gained over three years, the president of the country’s football association said on Saturday.
Claudio Tapia said the system, known as the “promedios” and common in Latin America, will be phased out by 2021. However, he did not say whether a conventional system would replace it.
A full range of measures, which include revamps for the second and third divisions, regional leagues, and the lifting of a ban on visiting supporters at some games, will be announced in March, Tapia said.
“It seems to me that these are the changes needed in football, along with more professional tournaments, where we can bring more value to the product we have,” he said in a statement posted on the Argentine Football Association’s website.
Rules and Regulations
Number of Teams: 26
Dates: 12/08/2018 – 07/04/2019
Points for Win: 3
Points for Draw: 1
Number of Matches: 25 (Teams play each other once).
Match Rules: The match squad must have no more than 5 foreign players. Only players registered for this competition are eligible to play. 7 subs named, maximum 3 used.
Trialist Rules: No trialists allowed to play in matches.
Squad Registration: Maximum of 6 foreign players. Maximum squad size of 99 players.
League Sorting Rules: Goal Difference then Goals Scored then a Championship playoff match is played if teams finish joint top with same points.
Average Points: Teams placed 23rd-26th in the Average Points table are relegated to Primera B Nacional.
Continental Qualification: Top 5 teams qualify for Copa Libertadores Group Stage. Team in 6th position qualifies for Copa Libertadores Second Qualifying Round (Depending on winner of Copa Argentina). Top 6 teams quality for Copa Sudamericana Preliminary Round.
Disciplinary Rules : 1 match ban for every 5 yellow cards. 1 match ban for every red card. The following bans may be added for the specified offences: One Match: Striking another player (minor). Two Matches: Violent Conduct. Striking another player. Five Matches: Striking another player (extreme). Twelve Matches: Striking a match official.
Transfer Window: Sunday 1st July 2018 to Thursday 9th August 2018. Sunday 1st July 2018 to Thursday 16th August 2018 (foreign transfers only). Sunday 1st July 2018 to Friday 31st August 2018 (free transfers only). Tuesday 11th December 2018 to Thursday 24th January 2019. Sunday 23rd December 2018 to Thursday 31 January 2019 (free transfers only).
Wage Rules: £100 per week minimum wage for full-time players 16 years old and up.