Restructuring Argentina’s lower divisions: what they’ll look like soon

At the national team level, the Asociación de Fútbol Argentino is tearing itself apart as the search begins to replace Jorge Sampaoli. At the top flight domestic level, we’re just three and a half weeks away from the start of the new season and there’s still been no confirmation of the 2018–19 Superliga season fixtures (or even the structure of the championship), which are expected to be announced later this week. But at lower division level at least, some decisions have been taken, and they will lead to a major restructure of everything from the B Nacional (second division) down.

For the season that begins soon, the only major departure from the norm is that the B Nacional will have no relegation at the end of the campaign; the champions will be promoted to the Superliga, while a second promotion will be decided by the teams from second to ninth going into playoffs. Presumably, given how things have worked for the last couple of Superliga seasons, those two promoted sides will be replaced by four relegated teams from the top flight. And just because there’s no relegation from the second tier doesn’t mean teams in the divisions below won’t be promoted for the following season; the Primera B and the Torneo Federal A will still end teams up this time next year.

All of this is to prepare for a restructuring job: from the 2019–20 season, the B Nacional will be split into two groups: the Primera División Metropolitana (not to be confused with the current B Metropolitana, which is an unofficial name for the third-tier Primera B) and the Primera División Federal. The Metropolitana will be for clubs directly affiliated with the AFA (i.e. those in the major metropolitan corridor of Greater Buenos Aires, La Plata, Santa Fe, and Rosario) while the Federal will be for indirectly affiliated clubs (from everywhere else). Each group will consist of eighteen or twenty teams.

When relegation is reintroduced for the 2019–20 season, it will be based on who finishes at the bottom of the league table come the end of the season; the promedios, the current average-points-per-game system which has been used by the AFA for years, really are on their way out!

Below these new second divisions, the directly affiliated Primera B and the indirectly affiliated Torneo Federal A will continue as fully professional third divisions, with 22 and 36 clubs respectively. Below the Primera B, the Primera C will become semi-pro, and the current fifth division Primera D will cease to exist. As a fourth tier below the Federal A, there will also be a restructuring and a new Torneo Federal Regional Amateur (Federal Regional Amateur Championship) will be introduced, bringing together the champions of regional championships around the country. This will also be semi-pro.

Sources: this article in Doble Amarilla and this one from Infobae.

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