AFA releases plans for 2011 Copa Argentina

Argentine football is set to welcome back a domestic cup competition after more than a 40-year absence, as authorities announce the format of the new tournament
Clubs from across the Argentine football pyramid will have the opportunity to play Primera Division giants such as Boca Juniors and Velez Sarsfield, as the AFA confirmed that they would be inaugurating the new Copa Argentina in time for the end of 2011.

Plans divulged in a press release from the nation's football leaders revealed that the competition, involving teams from the top seven divisions for a total of 186 clubs, would begin on August 31 with the first qualifying round. The top two divisions, meanwhile, would enter after a fourth qualifying round, providing 40 of the last 64 spaces.

According to the schedule, the clubs of Argentina's top-flight will therefore play their first matches from November 22. The format of this first round is still under discussion, as organisers discuss whether to use a straight knockout or divide the 64 teams into four groups of 16.

The Copa is the brainchild of AFA president Julio Grondona, who previously stated that he wished to replicate the success of competitions such as the Spanish Copa del Rey and the English FA Cup by introducing Argentina's own domestic trophy. There is no suggestion, however, that the winner will receive entry into one of South America's continental tournaments in a similar fashion as seen across the Atlantic Ocean.

A previous attempt to launch the Copa occurred in 1969 and 1970. Boca triumphed in the first edition, while in 1970 a 2-2 draw between the Xeneixe and San Lorenzo proved to be the last-ever match in the competition as a second leg was never arranged.