A change of format

Christmas will mean a day or two off, but for the sake of keeping up to speed I’m going to set this post to go up at some point on Christmas Day, because it’s a short but important point. Julio Grondona’s been talking again. For a change, there was one very interesting piece of good sense mentioned…

First, Grondona seemed to admit that the format of the triangular used to decide the 2008 Torneo Apertura was incorrect, stating that the losers of the first match should have played in the second match in order to prevent one team from having won the title before the third match was played. In future, this will change. He also insisted that the possibility still exists for Oscar Ruggeri to join the technical team of the selección: ‘we’ll have put an end to that matter by the end of the year.’

The headline-grabber, though, is that the Primera División A title might soon be decided in a way many commentators on the Argentine game have called for for a while. ‘We want just the one champion each year, and we’ve got six months to think about it,’ Grondona said in his press conference, explaining that, ‘the doors are open’ for a return to a single, season-long championship in the not-too-distant future.

Not to feel too smug, but I’ve been predicting this might be a possibility since shortly after HEGS was born, and have suspected it even more strongly since the 2009 Copa Libertadores qualification was re-jigged to include the newly crowned Apertura champions (Boca) at the start of the current season. Sticking to the European season still strikes me as a bit daft, but it’ll be interesting to see whether this really happens…

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4 thoughts on “A change of format

  1. Well, when you think about it, it is pretty funny that Grondona says that the problems with the triangular playoffs won’t happen again. How often do you have triangular playoffs !! Plus, the asshole can say anything at any time, and then change his mind down the road. Let’s see what happens in the future with these issues. It would be nice to see one season and be pretty much on the same page as everyone else.

  2. As much as I agree with a return to the full season championship, using the split season, two championship system does give a chance to some of the lesser teams to gain a trophy.

    Perhaps adding a cup tournament might help balance that out. As things stand, I believe there is no equivalent to the FA Cup in Argentina.

  3. It’s the case now, David, but when you look through the historical records of who won what in the 70s and 80s, it seemed there was one league championship tournament played and another tournament involving group matches and then two-legged knock out till a final.

    Did these tournaments run concurrently? There was no coverage of Argentine football in this country prior to the 90s, so split championships Apertura/Clausura are all I’ve ever known… and back then I always thought how exciting and clever this was, to produce two (at the time) Libertadores entrants with equal right to be there.

    This worries me about the single championship. It will turn the league into a ‘Big Four’ style procession with the same teams each year, I feel. I don’t think Tigre or Lanus will *ever* have a chance again, as half way through each season, Boca, River and European teams will take all their best players.

    I’d just be happy to see the end of promedios to give everyone a level playing field. But I don’t suppose Grondona mentioned about that, given that River would now be in really big trouble.

  4. You all know where I stand here. Having lived the time when we had 38-week tournaments and then witnessing the short tournament era, I’m all for the longer version.

    I think if you give the teams the incentives they need, there’s always going to be something for them to play for. Be it the league title, cup qualification (for both Libertadores and Sudamericana) or fighting against relegation.

    I don’t think we’ll have a return to a league of the Big 5 or something like that, as teams such as Lanús, Tigre, Vélez and Estudiantes are regularly getting more points than Racing and Independiente (and sometimes San Lorenzo).

    What we need to see is whether we’ll have the long tournaments starting in February/March and ending in December or if we’re going to have the start of the season at the same time as the European leagues (July/August and run it until March/April).

    We risk suffering what they suffer in Brazil. A journalist friend of mine told me they have to produce two entirely different Primera División Guides. One in February and the other one in July. Because teams would sell all their best players to Europe in the middle of the campaign and you risk having an entirely different starting XI from one week to the following.

    What’s funny about this is that Grondona fought against everybody when he introduced the short tournaments. Nobody liked them. I mean NOBODY. Then, when people started to get used to that ridiculous format (in which you can become a champion without playing any derby match away or without having to travel more than 400km in an entire tournament), Grondona is now thinking of changing it.

    It’s not surprising that he is keen on keeping the promedios as they are today. It’d be a perfect opportunity to change EVERYTHING that’s wrong in our league football.

    Don’t even get me started with my dream of having an official Cup competition similar to the FA Cup or the Copa del Rey. It’ll be perfect, but it won’t happen in the foreseeable future.

    Matt…I’ll talk about those two yearly tournaments you mentioned (the Nacional and Metropolitano) some other time.

    My wife is calling me! I gotta go! haha!

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