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Coronavirus: Argentina's football season cancelled with relegation suspended for two years

Decision looks set to benefit Diego Maradona, whose Gimnasia side will avoid relegation if the ruling is officially ratified on Tuesday

Diego Armando Maradona coach of Gimnasia y Esgrima greets the fans prior a match between Gimnasia y Esgrima La Plata and Estudiantes as part of Superliga Argentina 2019/20 at Juan Carmelo Zerillo on November 2, 2019 in La Plata , Argentina.
Image: Relegation-threatened Gimnasia, led by Diego Maradona, look set to be saved by the season's cancellation

Argentina declared its football season over and said there will be no relegation for two seasons due to the disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The decision will be officially ratified on Tuesday with the president of the Argentine Football Association (AFA), Claudio Tapia, announcing promotion will continue, although he did not clarify from which divisions.

Tapia told a local news channel on Monday: "We are ending the tournaments.

"The idea is to restart play but when authorities allow it and with maximum security."

Argentina's top league - the Primera Division - finished on the first weekend of March as Boca Juniors were crowned champions on a dramatic final day.

Carlos Tevez kisses Diego Maradona for luck ahead of Saturday's match
Image: Carlos Tevez kisses Diego Maradona before he scored the winner to seal this season's title for Boca Juniors in March

But the AFA's decision means the Copa Superliga, a 24-team tournament scheduled to end in a playoff in May, has been cancelled.

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.

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The decision to suspend relegation will be welcomed by the bottom three clubs, one of whom, Gimnasia, are 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.

On Saturday, Argentina extended its mandatory nationwide quarantine period until May 10, with their coronavirus death toll currently at 192.

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