Argentina declared its football season over on Monday and said there will be no relegation for two seasons because of the disruption caused by the new coronavirus outbreak.
“We are ending the tournaments,” Claudio Tapia, president of the Argentine Football Association, told a local news channel, adding that the decision will be ratified officially on Tuesday. “The idea is to restart play but when authorities allow it and with maximum security.”
Argentina has reported 3,892 cases of COVID-19 and 192 dead, according to local figures. On Saturday, President Alberto Fernandez extended its mandatory nationwide quarantine period until May 10.
Tapia said promotion will continue but he did not clarify from which divisions. Relegation, which is decided by a complicated calculus of points per game taken over a three-year period, will be suspended this season and next.
The decision means the Copa Superliga, a 24-team tournament scheduled to end in a playoff in May, has been cancelled. Only one round of games had taken place when the lockdown began.
The first division championship was completed the first weekend of March.
The decision to suspend relegation will be welcomed by the bottom three clubs, one of whom, Gimnasia, is coached by Diego Maradona.
Maradona took over at Gimnasia in September 2019 when the La Plata club was bottom of the division and although their results have improved they were still destined to fall into the second tier.