Question of the day: Can a team be relegated from the top league and also win the league title in the same season?
Short answer: Yes.
Longer answer: Yes, Tigre in the AFA (Asociación del Fútbol Argentino). How? It’s complicated.
To understand how a football team can be crowned champion while at the same time waving goodbye to top-flight football you need to know how the Argentinean league system works. The Argentinean premier league is called the Primera División and the league below this is the Primera B Nacional. The season is split into two tournaments – Apertura and Clausura (opening and closing). Clausura is ending now. At the end of both tournaments, the champion is crowned and the least successful four teams with the least points fall into the relegation zone. Out of the four worst teams, the two teams with the least points go down automatically. The third- and fourth-worst teams must play the second- and third-best teams in the Primera B Nacional league (not the most successful, this team comes up automatically) in the play-offs (confusingly called la Promoción). The winners come up (or stay up) and the losers go down (or stay down.)
Still following? It’s not as simple as it sounds… Teams to be relegated and promoted are decided on the average number of points the teams have taken over three years – not just one season.
So Tigre could win the league title because this season they’ve gained the most points. However, the two previous seasons went badly so their average number of points is among the worst and they are close to relegation.
As it stands at the moment, Tigre can:
Win the league title for the first time in their history and be relegated to the B;
Win the title and stay in the Primera División;
Not win the title and stay in the Primera División;
Not win the title and get relegated; or
Play in the play-offs for the title and at the same time in the play-offs to avoid relegation
Lifting the league trophy while plummeting to the B division? It´s possible. Anything’s possible in Argentinean football; just look at River in the B….