When it comes to explaining soccer in this Beginners Guide to Argentine Primera División, the league is more complicated than leagues from other parts of the world. Few countries can say that soccer intersects with every facet of daily living like it does in Argentina. “Which club do you support” is the one of the first two questions that is asked by an Argentine when first being introduced. This is asked by everyone from a distant acquaintance to a high-powered executive interviewing a prospective job candidate. Soccer is discussed nearly 24 hours a day on television and radio there. Even political shows talk a great deal about soccer in their broadcasts.
How influential is soccer in Argentina? Well, for starters the president of the Argentine FA (AFA), Armando “Chiqui” Tapia, is the son-in-law of the most powerful worker’s union leader in Argentina, Hugo Moyano. Moyano also happens to be the president of Independiente. Television mogul and former AFA presidential candidate Marcelo Tinelli has served in various functions at San Lorenzo including vice-president. The most obvious example is that of current Argentine president Mauricio Macri. His “political” career began back in the mid 1990’s when he became the president of Boca Juniors. Even the current Boca president has important ties to the intelligence community in Argentina.
In the US, the English-language TV rights to the Primera Division are currently owned by Paramount+. The ViacomCBS company acquired the rights in the spring of 2021 and now stream matches through the 2024 campaign.
For Spanish listeners, games can be accessed via the streaming service Fanatiz. This provider offers legal streaming of Primera Division games, including River Plate and Boca Juniors games. Plus, Fanatiz also features the Chilean league and Chilean Cup, among other competitions from the continent.
Teams to watch
The two biggest clubs in Argentina are undoubtedly Boca Juniors and River Plate. Combining for 70 titles between the two teams, the next closest club has raised the trophy just 18 times. While Boca Juniors and River Plate are the two dominant teams, other clubs such as Racing, Independiente, Velez Sarsfield, Rosario Central, and San Lorenzo have also enjoyed some success in recent years.
After years of format adjustments, particularly the number of clubs in the top flight, the first division now consists of 26 teams. The season typically runs from July/August into the South American summer (remembering that seasons are flipped in the southern hemisphere).
Much like most countries that play semester-type tournaments, Argentina has implemented averages of the last four seasons to determine which teams will be relegated. Here is the formula: Points won divided by matches played equals average.
These teams would be replaced by the champion of the Primera Nacional (second division) and the winner of a single-elimination tournament between teams placed in second to ninth place in the table.
In addition to the league, clubs play the Copa Argentina. This cup tournament was re-established after two previous editions in 1969 and 1970. This was a competition that was created during the Fútbol Para Todos days to be able to reach out to areas that do not have some of the top clubs play there frequently. The competition typically begins in February. Matches are mostly played in a neutral venue and the date of the final will either be played in late November or early December. As of press time, the date or site of the final was not determined.
The winner of this competition gets a spot in the Argentine Super Cup where they would face the winner of the league. The second reward that the cup winner obtains is a spot in the Copa Libertadores should they have not already qualified for that competition. In the event that the winning team has already obtained a spot in Copa Libertadores, the runner-up in the competition would then qualify.
If you have any questions about the Beginners Guide to Argentine Primera División, let us know in the comments section below.
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Soccer Beginner’s guides
• Beginner’s guide to Argentine Primera División
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