When it comes to explaining soccer in this Beginner’s 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. Argentines discuss soccer nearly 24 hours each day on television and radio. 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.
Beginner’s Guide to Argentine Primera División
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. Remember, South America has flipped seasons compared to the northern hemisphere.
Much like most countries that play semester-type tournaments, Argentina implemented averages of the last four seasons to determine relegated teams. 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.
For a more in-depth look at how promotion and relegation works across the soccer world, check out our article on the subject.
In addition to the league, clubs play the Copa Argentina. This cup tournament returned after two previous editions in 1969 and 1970. This competition started during the Fútbol Para Todos days. Moreover, founders set the goal to reach out to areas that do not have top clubs consistently competing in the region.
The competition begins in February. Typically, matches transpire in a neutral venue. Generally, the last two teams play in the final in late November or early December.
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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