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Argentine football set for major overhaul as AFA approves plans for new Primera Division

Up to 40 teams may be eligible to play in the Argentine top-flight from 2012, after plans to unify the nation's top two divisions were passed

The Argentine FA has approved plans to restructure the country's league system, where the number of clubs participating will increase from 20 to as many as 38 by the beginning of the 2012-2013 season.

The members of the board met on Monday to discuss the new arrangements, and have decided to reform the current Primera Division into a brand new championship which would incorporate sides from the current Nacional B Division, Argentina's second-level league, and the 2011-12 champions from Torneo A Argentino and Primera B Metropolitana, both of the nation's third-level leagues.

As AFA spokesman Ernesto Cherquis confirmed on Monday evening, the committee overwhelmingly voted in favour of unification during the same meeting which saw Sergio Batista removed from the head of the national team.

Few details were released about the proposed format of the new tournament, but Cherquis affirmed that if passed in a general meeting in three months time, the new-look competition would com into force in time for August 2012.

"In the meeting of the executive committee of the AFA it was approved, by 22 votes in favour against four abstentions and one absence, to create a new project to restructure Argentine football from next August. Now it will have to be approved by general assembly on October 18," the official confirmed after the meeting.

Cherquis continued to explain that a key goal of the changes was to open the game up to interior provinces of Argentina, historically weaker in comparison to clubs in the capital Buenos Aires.

"The new championship makes sense on a deeply federal level. It will have direct relegation and promotion and the average points issue will be eliminated. Besides this, in the coming season of the Primera Division there will be no relegation."

The new system would most likely see top-level football split into five zones of eight teams, with the 20 best-performing sides going on to fight for the league title and Copa Libertadores qualification in the second half of the year. The bottom clubs, meanwhile, would enter a distinct tournament to determine who would be relegated.

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