BUENOS AIRES - The Argentine Football
Association (AFA) has backed down on a much-criticised plan to
fuse the first and second divisions into a 38-team national
championship from next year.
"The AFA resolved tonight [Monday] to suspend consideration
of the proposal," the sport's national governing body said in a
statement on its official website, while not
ruling out looking at it again at a later date.
Players, coaches, fans, club directors and media were
scathing in their criticism of the idea, made public last week,
which would have been introduced in the 2012/13 season.
Fans called for a demonstration at AFA headquarters in
downtown Buenos Aires.
The plan, to include the 20 first division sides and 18 from
the second-tier Nacional B, was seen as a ruse to get relegated
giants River Plate back into the top flight as quickly as
possible and also ensure other big teams did not risk the drop.
Reports also suggested it might have been a plan for the
government, which controls broadcasting of first division
matches, to expand into the Nacional B which is televised by a
The Apertura championship, first of two in the Argentine
first division season, kicks off this weekend. The Nacional B is
a single season long championship with River in it after being
relegated for the first time in June.
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