Argentina’s Crazy Relegation System Could Relegate Top 2 Teams

If you looked at Colón three months ago in Argentina’s top league, they were dead in the water. Many had gone as far as already putting them in the second division after they were docked six points after the Falcón ordeal with Mexican side Atlante. They were a squad that had very little to offer back then and have even less now.

Club Godoy Cruz were also in quite the crux after Martín Palermo left at the end of last semester. They found themselves in relegation spots coming into this semester, but former Xolos coach Jorge Almirón righted the ship and they now find themselves sharing the top spot in Argentine football after four rounds.

This sounds like a tremendous turnaround story for both teams. Colón’s example seems like a tremendous underdog story since they were not allowed to acquire players during the off-season due to the Atlante ordeal.  Yet, this is what makes this topic so intriguing and confusing at the same time.

Here’s the current top 4 standings in the league:

1. Godoy Cruz
2. Colón
3. San Lorenzo
4. Estudiantes

However, here’s the list of teams that are facing possible relegation:


15. All Boys               1.222
16. Colón                   1.222
17. Godoy Cruz         1.212
18. Olimpo                1.174
19. Quilmes               1.164
20. Argentinos Jrs.  1.162

In Argentina, relegation is calculated based on the total number of points accumulated during the last three years divided by the total number of matches played during that time frame, to determine an average.

This story is yet another chapter begin written in the absolute dislike for the relegation format that is in place in Argentina as well as in many other countries in Latin America.  The format consists of dividing the sum of points in all the short tournaments of the past three years by the amount of matches played. This format places an excruciating amount of pressure on newly promoted sides should they begin their top flight campaign on the wrong foot. The inverse is also true. Relegation races in countries such as Argentina favor the recently promoted side as well just because of numbers alone.

If a newly promoted side strings together multiple matches where they accumulate points, their average improves drastically compared to a club that has generated points across all three years, with the points being counted towards their average.

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