League revamp could ease River comeback

BUENOS AIRES - A revamped Argentine first division championship devised for the 2012/13 season looks set to guarantee relegated giants River Plate a rapid return to the top flight.

On Monday, the Argentine Football Association (AFA) announced it would unite the teams from the country's top two divisions into one next year, combining all 20 from the top flight and 16 or 18 from the second tier.

The teams are then likely to be divided into regional groups.

AFA spokesman Ernesto Cherquis Bialo told reporters the championship format "must be ratified by the AFA's Executive Committee," with a decision expected on October 18.

River were relegated for the first time in their 110-year existence last month and will spend next season in the Nacional B division and provided they avoid the bottom two places, should bounce right back if the new format is confirmed.

Cherquis Bialo said that it was almost certain there would be no relegation from the first division in the 2011/12 season which starts the weekend after next.

Since the early 1980s, relegation from the top flight was determined by points averages over three seasons. River's drop was caused mainly by a poor 2008/09 season.


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