In the midst of home run changes, direct elimination brackets and qualifying formats for international tournaments, There is a point in the League regulations that many have wanted to modify, but which has been maintained with some modifications: the relegation table.
The last assault was last Wednesday, when a movement headed by Nelson Soto, president of Jaguares, tried to eliminate the average, without success, but with a vote that was very close to turning the situation around and applying direct relegation, that is, , that the last two of the reclassification were discarded to B. 24 votes are needed. There were 23 in favor, 13 against and one blank, the one from Santa Fe.
President of Dimayor wanted to change the descent
The president of Dimayor himself, Fernando Jaramillo, defends direct relegation. “The position of the administration, and in a certain way my personal position, we expressed last year and also at the beginning of this year. It had a component of a club relegation as some were proposing, and with a one-year tournament format. What was decided was to continue with the relegation issue as it is, applying the average, ”he said.
Controversies with the relegation system
Why has the issue of relegation been so controversial in recent times? There are two factors that influence: first, a regulatory change with the teams that are promoted, and second, that two of the championship, Once Caldas and Deportivo Cali, are seriously compromised in their permanence in the A due to their bad campaigns.
Averaging decline is not new. In Argentina, it was created in the 1960s and was discarded. It was resumed in 1983, with the idea of preventing one of the big teams from leaving: San Lorenzo had just lost the category in 1981. Curiously, the first victim was another of the big teams, Racing.
In Colombia it was copied from the 1955/96 season, but with a variant with respect to the Argentine: the one who ascended entered with the accumulated score of the last or the penultimate, which left him almost sentenced.
The relegation system changed in Colombia last year
The system was changed last year: those who arrive from B are only counted the number of points since they were promoted. The others continue to play with the last three years. If he had played without an average, in several cases, in the most recent tournaments, the descent would have been different (see graph):
The average is obtained by dividing the number of points by the number of games played, counting only the round-robin phases (not home runs or finals). Thus, Unión Magdalena, which has been in A since last year, only has what it did last year and this year. And Huila and Boyacá Chicó are building their accumulated with the points of 2023 only.
The system helps those promoted, as long as they do a good campaign. Since they divide by fewer games, the more they add up, the higher the average will be. That happens today with Boyacá Chicó, with a great start in the championship: he has 13 points in 6 games, for an average of 2.17, which today puts him even above the best average in recent years, Millonarios.
Historically, no Colombian team has been relegated with more than 1.25 points per game. The average of the lowest average to be saved, in the last ten years, is 1.07. Last year, Cortuluá fell to B with 0.78 and Patriotas, with 0.90. Today, the bar is a little higher.
In order to reach, in a pessimistic calculation, an average of 1.25 in order not to drop, Huila and Boyacá Chicó will have to score 50 points until the end of the year. The opitas would be missing 43 today and the checkers, only 37.
To reach that same average, Unión Magdalena, which brings a senior last year, will have to get 60 points (it started with 40 in 2022). He already has seven, he is missing 53. The tally for those who have been in A for three years, out of 118 games, is to make 148 points. Alianza Petrolera has to get 57 more; Grass, 48; Once Caldas, 47, and Deportivo Cali, 45.
Huila, Unión and Alianza have very low averages and that helps Once Caldas and Cali, for now. But if they do not add up, the panorama becomes very entangled. There are still 22 dates left, not counting postponed.
Jose Orlando Ascencio
sports deputy editor