Argentinian 38-Team Soccer League Plans Dropped

August 2, 2011

The Argentine Football Association (AFA) has decided to drop its controversial plans to create a 38-team national soccer championship after heavy criticism of the plans from players, pills coaches, fans, club officials and the media.

The proposal, which was put forward by AFA president Julio Grondona last week, would have seen the merger of the country’s top two divisions from the 2012-13 season. Teams would have been split into two zones of 19 with traditional rivals like River Plate and Boca Juniors kept apart before facing each other in ‘inter-zone’ matches. The plans called for the top five teams in each zone to advance to a Championship Stage, which would have determined the league champion, while the other 28 competed to avoid relegation.

The plans were seen by many as a ruse to ensure relegated River returned to the top flight at the earliest opportunity and reduce the chances of other top clubs also suffering relegation.

Despite ending these plans, the AFA has called for ideas from clubs for further reform of the domestic game. The Apertura championship, the opening event in the Argentine first division season, kicks off this weekend.