Tiers – Primera División & Primera B Nacional
Cup Competitions – None.
Other Competitions – None.
The Argentinian Football League is consistently ranked among the top-ten leagues in the world according to the International Federation of Football History and Statistics and many of Argentina’s top players are considered to be among the world’s best and can be found playing in many of Europe’s top divisions. FM07 compares favourably to real life when looking at Argentina as the league is closely contested most seasons and the standard of player is on a par with Brazil (though physical attributes are generally improved at the expense of some mental attributes). As with the other South American leagues, money is tight.
The Primera División season is split into two halves, the first running from the second weekend in August to the first weekend in December, while the second starts in the second weekend of January and runs to the second weekend in May. The division contains 20 teams who play each other once in each of the periods making for a 38 game season. The match-day squad may contain as many as four foreign players among the starting eleven and seven substitutes (three can be used) named.
There are two transfer windows available for clubs to conduct player deals, the Summer window (runs from the last Monday in June to the first Thursday in August, with a one week extension for free transfers) and the Winter window (second Monday in December to the second Thursday in January, with a one week extension for free transfers).
Argentina employs the standard three points for a win and one for a draw system with any teams tied on point separated by the following methods:
* Goal difference;
* Goals scored.
Unlike many countries that employ a split domestic season, Argentina has no play-off to decide its champion – quite simply, finish top and you win. Relegation, on the other hand, is a considerably more complex affair and is clearly weighted towards ensuring that Argentina’s more prestigious clubs never have to suffer the embarrassment of playing in Primera B Nacional. The method of determining the relegated clubs uses a three season (obviously promoted teams will only have one season’s worth of points) average of Primera División points to determine team rankings. The bottom two clubs according to the averages are relegated outright while the teams ranked 17th and 18th face a play-off for their position (more details below).
Players are given a one match ban for every five yellow cards collected and each red card carries at least a one match ban depending on the reason for dismissal.
Primera B Nacional.
The second tier of Argentinian football follows the rules of the rules of the upper tier very closely, the only differences being that fewer substitutes are allowed (five rather than seven), transfer windows dates differ slightly and the start and end dates for the competition are slightly earlier.
The winners of Primera B Nacional’s Opening and Closing periods meet in the First Round of the Play-Offs. The match is two-legged using Primera División squad rules and uses extra-time and penalties to settle tied matches (no provision for away goals). The winner of this match is promoted while the loser faces the Second Round match against the team that finished highest in Primera B Nacional without winning a period. The match is played using the same rules as the First Round match. The winner of the match is promoted while the loser qualifies for the Third Round match against one of the aforementioned teams from the Primera División. The winner qualifies for the Primera División for the following season, the other will play in Primera B Nacional. The Fourth Round pits the winner of a play-off between the four clubs who finished highest in Primera B Nacional yet haven’t already taken part in the play-offs (i.e. They didn’t win one of the periods and weren’t the best placed team not to win a period) against the other Primera División team. Again, the winners will play top flight football in the following season while the loser will be playing in the Primera B Nacional. Complicated? Just a little.
Relegation from Primera B Nacional operates in a similar way to the Primera División in so far as the bottom two clubs from the average points table are automatically relegated. However, the worst surviving team from each of the Metropolitan (effectively, Buenos Aires) and Interior (everywhere else) districts then face a two-legged play-off against a team from their own district for the right to play in the Primera B Nacional in the following season.