The gossip had been around for weeks now surrounding the structure of the new 2014 Transitional tournament for the Primera B Metropolitana short season for the next six months. The mystery now is out on how the new tournament should be played. (And as always, leaving just enough space for free interpretation of all elements. Thanks, AFA).
How the Primera B Metropolitana is going to be played on 2014 (or what’s left of it)
The organization will still be that of a short tournament such as the ones in primera division:
– Two rounds of games between the twenty one clubs with home and away ties.
– Up to eight mid-week rounds or more (in what was, up to this point and due to the world cup caused round congestion, an 5 mid-week round tournament in the 2013-2014 season or so)
– Three teams will be promoted up to the Nacional B. (As stated in the AFA oficial Bulletin – Boletín Oficial) whereas the Argentino A will get three promotions into the Nacional B category.
– Two teams have been promoted from Primera C to Primera B. Still it respects the Equipo Libre structure, with one team for each group not playing every week.
How will the three teams will be promoted to Nacional B?
As the tournament is distributed into two groups, Group A and Group B, the teams leading the groups at first position will get promoted directly into Nacional B. And the teams in second in third position will go into playoffs between themselves and between the two groups to get the third promotion.
Why are only three teams being promoted up to Nacional B, instead of the seven promotions Argentino A gets?
The ball is on AFA’s board this time. According to Javier “Pipo” Marin, president of the Primera B Division, the intention is to keep the three promotions taking into account and respecting AFA’s decision to do it so.
As Marín said himself on Twitter:
@javtul No creo que quedemos como boludos, es una desicion del comité ejecutivo, si hablamos de un futbol federal no me parece tan mal
— Javier Marin (@javierpipomarin) June 10, 2014
The intention of giving the Argentino A tournament 7 promotions and only three to the Primera B comes after years of reclamations from the inland clubs of the country for an increased “federalization” of football in Argentina, in which AFA should give more place in the table to the Nacional B and Argentino tournament teams in both finance as well as political decision. This was AFA candidate to president Daniel Vila’s platform, which worked shabbily in 2009 to de-throne Julio Humberto Grondona at that time. Since then, Vila has quit as president of Independiente Rivadavia (Mendoza) and has quit on his intentions of becoming AFA president. Yet the claims still stand to this day.
Will there be relegations in this transitional tournament?
No, as teams will be needed to fill in the void left by the teams promoted to Primera División and Nacional B. The only category that will be left with insufficient teams will be Primera D (fifth division), and the placement of new teams will be decided by AFA. By the beginning of the next tournament, it will be AFA’s choice for picking the new teams.
When will there be promotions again after this tournament?
Alledgedly, on December 2015. Though the intended change of structure by some directives in Primera División after Grondona’s death may pospone promotions up until June 2016. (To be brief about this: Argentine chairmen for many teams have proposed a postponement of the new “long” championship structure up until June 2016 to match the transfer windows between the European summer market and the Argentinian winter market).
Are there any transfer market restrictions for this transitional tournament?
No, it will continue as ever on each June-July window: up until the beginning of the season, with no restrictions whatsoever. The change will be that in the January-February market the limits (two players on the window) will be removed as the tournament structure changes for the teams to buy and sell for the upcoming long season.
Are there any points undefined about this tournament?
Some of the items regarding the organization remain to be uncovered, and should be revealed by the end of the World Cup, such as:
– There has been talk of how the promotion playoffs would be done (home and away rounds, thirds versus seconds, and so on). The third promotion has not been fully defined and will probably be defined like many of the AFA issues: on the spur of the moment.
– The selection of referees, up to this point, had been handpicked by Grondona himself for all categories. It remains to be seen if Segura will stick to that structure or if it will raffle the referees once a week yet again.
Are there any modifications to the rulebook?
None whatsoever so far, just the structure previously stated in this post.
What are the ‘high’ points of this new structure?
First point: The distribution of the groups
The prior distribution of the groups (before redistribution on 6/30) argumented that the division of the groups was conveyed upon the average amount of points of participants within the groups. That way, in Group A the teams averaged 52 points, and in group B 51.4 points amongst them. The score was settled so that the teams in each group were distributed in a fair way, independently from the teams involved in each group. That type of distribution was discussed by presidents of some of the biggest clubs in the category, mainly Platense and Chacarita since the distribution left them squared with low average, high spending clubs like Tristán Suárez.
In that way the redistribution has left somehow the groups more evened- up, and the biggest winners in this way have been Platense and Los Andes, since teams like Chacarita and Tristan Suarez have been switched to the A Group.
A small amount of promotions will add thrill
It is important to take into account that the Primera B is a tournament in a fairly smaller area than the Argentino A. Given the three promotion spots against Argentino A’s seven promotions will add thrills as the teams will have to compete much harder for the same spots in the Nacional B, especially teams that had built strong teams and will keep their structures only to enhance them, such as Atlanta, Platense or Los Andes, added to the return of strong teams like Almirante Brown, and historical teams such as Deportivo Italiano or Deportivo Español.
What’s against the tournament?
The Tournament buries certain derbies
The original distribution of the groups was made, as AFA said, in a way to liquidate all derbies, not because the rivalries were not good enough or to uglify the tournament… but to specifically avoid violence between the teams. Although there is a rumor that the ban on away fans would end after the world cup, the truth is that the attempt was made, but not good enough to stop the derbies. It has stopped only the Atlanta- Chacarita derby, but each group keeps a certain amount of derbies in it. In group A, for an example, it holds the most dangerous match of the whole season: Almirante Brown – C. D. Morón (which has held some terrible encounters between away and local fans in each game, such as the one we present here).
So even though if Atlanta- Chacarita won’t be played, much to Tore Lopez’s (Chacarita President) dismay, there will be a certain amount of derbies being played such as Italiano- Español in the B Group, or Almirante Brown- C.D. Morón, in the A group.
UPDATE: Edit, the groups were re- organized, and the only Clásico played was Chacarita- Atlanta on 8/12.
It was not distributed as fairly as it is being said
Even though the groups were distributed due to the average amount of points summed between groups (between 51 and 52 points per group), there is quite a lot about how the groups are conformed that’s not being taken into account.
To the knowledgeable eyes there can seem to be a disparity between groups that goes beyond points and into other factors: for an example, the account of points doesn’t take into account the performances of the teams who came down from the Nacional B, the type of budget they are spending and other elements.
Too much a risk for club finances.
With an average 8 to 12 players per team, the Primera B tournament has been heavily reinforced by both teams. Yet considering Argentina’s rampant inflation (or should we say stagnation), with clubs on the category that have de- valued their earnings and in some cases spending way more than what they could spend (eg. Chacarita, or Tristán Suárez), prices on all players’ contracts have risen in an important way. The clubs are getting dirty with their finances in hopes of being promoted through this short tournament. Should the promotions be delayed or not achieved, these decisions will have heavy effects on most of the team’s finances and futures.
Heard about spending responsibly, anyone? Welcome to Argentine football.
It is not the optimal way it could be played.
There are a myriad of issues that could be tackled by defining this new championship structure: too many mid-week games that will cause heavy legs and complaints by teams.
What’s your take on the new Argentine tournament?