With the new championship almost upon us, the AFA have decided on a few new guidelines for the coming season. There have been changes in the regulations for qualification for the Copas, TV scheduling and ticketing arrangements.
First of all, visiting fans will be limited in each stadium to only 50% of the capacity of whichever stand is normally reserved for them, in an effort to cut down on the violence of the last twelve months. As well as this, all ten matches each weekend will now be televised in Argentina: five on TyCSports and five on pay-per-view channel TyC Max. The lowest-price tickets have gone up fron AR$12 to AR$14 (about US$4.50).
Cup qualifiers have been re-jigged slightly to make things a little more sensible. Before now, the winners of one season’s Apertura were entered into the following season’s Libertadores. Since the Libertadores is played during the same half of the year as the Clausura, this meant that a side qualifying via the Apertura had to wait over a year before playing in the corresponding Copa. For this season, qualifiers remain unchanged, of course. So the 2008 Libertadores entrants from Argentina will be Estudiantes, San Lorenzo, River Plate and Boca Juniors, plus the winners of the qualifier between Arsenal and Lanús.
For the 2009 Copa Libertadores, the qualifying teams will be those who win the 2007 Apertura (as per normal), the 2008 Clausura (ditto), and the winners of the 2008 Apertura, plus the two next best sides overall from those three championships. I’m assuming this will mean a switch in future so that the winners of one year’s championships go into the Libertadores thereafter (i.e. from 2009 onwards, the two 2009 champs go into the Copa).
Qualification for the Copa Sudamericana will remain unchanged. So will the rules and regulations regarding relegation, and the transfer window, which for Argentine clubs will close tomorrow night, at 10pm Argentine time.
And any yellow cards from the Clausura will be wiped out and not count towards suspensions for the new championship, but players who’ve already racked up a suspension will have to serve it. The unlucky few are:
Ortigoza (Argentinos Juniors), Ferrari (River Plate), Iuvalé (Gimnasia Jujuy), J. Ortiz (San Lorenzo), Falcón (Colón), Báez (Independiente), Hoyos y Pelletieri (Lanús), Solana (Huracán), Agüero (San Martín) – all of these for one match – and Laciar, also of San Martín, who’s been such a naughty boy he’s suspended for two games.