‘Some people believe that football is matter of life and death. I am very disappointed with that attitude, it is much, much more important than that.’
Tuesday, April 25, 2017
Changes in the first league format coloured the 1982 championship and
need a few words. In 1981 the top league was made of 18 teams, but
reduced to 16 for 1982 – which meant 5 teams were relegated and 3
promoted. But for 1983 the top league was increased to 22 teams –
that meant 2 teams were relegated and 8 promoted. This automatically
focuses on the Second Division championship and the criteria for
relegation and promotion: otherwise the obvious discrepancies between
performance in 1982 and the league members in 1983 would be foggy or
whimsical at best. Both professional leagues had strange formula of
the championship: there was a first stage, called Torneo Polla Gol,
but also Copa Chile. And, just to confuse you entirely, it is called
Campeonato de Apertura. The essential point of this first stage is
that it had almost no importance for the second one – only the
winner and the other finalist benefited from it: the winner carried 2
bonus points to the second stage, clearly name Campeonato Oficial,
the losing finalist and semi-finalists – 1 point. That was all. But
the dual championship had importance to the promotions for the next
year, as it turned out. Campeonato Oficial was all final: it was
standard league championship, no funky rules (in Torneo Polla Gol
bonus points were given for wins with by 4 or more goals and no
points for scoreless ties), the first in the final table was champion
of Chile, and the bottom 2 (this season) – relegated. Simple...
First and Second leagues had the same formula. There was a small
addition to the First Division schedule, concerning the second
Chilean representative in Copa Libertadores.
calculation, however, suggests troubles with Second Division after
such a big increase of the top league. It had 22 teams in 1982 and
promotion of 8 left the league with 14. Two relegated from the top –
16. Clearly, relegation to Third Division and promotion from there
would be affected to make the numbers, even if Second Division was
slightly reduced (and reduction made no sense, if top league was so
drastically enlarged). But in most countries, including Chile, the
lower you go, the more difficult it gets to find not only competitive
teams, but also financially able to play in higher divisions. So,
economic measures were applied in the promotion/relegation process –
and they were the real factor at the end, explaining why some clubs
were suddenly playing higher division football the next year and
others remained where they were before. The main criteria was
attendance – 'a good venue' was the term used, but there was one
more factor, seemingly, geographic – it affected promotion to
Second Division. 'Spread the game, cover the whole country', was
seemingly the idea. Promotion was complicated to no end, by
introducing a final promotion/relegation tournament between 2 of the
lowest in First Division and the 6th
in Second Division. Endless fun... those teams lost and remained in
Second Division and in the same time the 'good venue' rule promoted
in the final table. Only one team was relegated from Second Division
– the last, 22nd,
in the final table: Talagante Ferro (Tallagante). With that, the name
disappeared... the club was relocated to Santiago under the name
Ferroviarios de Santiago.
far so good? Keeping adding and subtracting? Makes 15 teams in the
1983 Second Division. Three more were promoted... but from where?
They did not come via the Third Division championship. The newcomers
were from the deep South of the country: Osorno, Valdivisa, and
Puerto Montt. Geographic reasons... and Second Division was now
18-team strong. Let's go back to the 1982 championship.
final of Campeonato Apertura, or Copa Polla Gol, was reached by
Everton and Colchagua. Everton won and got 2 bonus points. Colchagua
and losing semi-finalists, Cobrasal and Trasandino got 1 bonus point
and started Campeonato Oficial with this slight advantage. Did not
help any... Colchagua (San Fernando) slipped to 16th
place in the final table. Cobresal (El Salvador) was 6th.
Everton (Vina del Mar) – second. Seemingly, only Trasandino (Los
Andes) benefited from its strong first stage performance: thanks to
the bonus point, they clinched 3rd
place, finishing with equal points, but better goal-difference than
Union San Felipe (San Felipe). Third place in Second Division... not
much to brag about.
Vial (Concepcion) was the champion of Second Division.
wins, 14 ties, 7 losses, 66-43 goal-difference, 56 points – one
more than Everton. Champions, even of Second Division, matter. Strong
year for the boys and going up to play with the best. To the envy of
their local rivals...
Concepcion (Concepcion) finished 11th
and remained in Second Division.
other former First Division members were also unable to reach
Unido (Coquimbo) finished 10th.
Lota Schwager (Coronel) – 13th,
Nublense (Chillan) – 14th,
Ovalle (Ovalle) – 17th,
the list may go on, but those were the general losers remaining in
the Second Division. Should have played better: those, who did, moved
with Fernandez Diaz, the next 4 teams in the final table were
directly promoted: Everton (Vina del Mar) – 2nd,
Trasandino (Los Andes) – 3rd,
Union San Felipe (San Felipe) – 4th,
and Antofagasta (Antofagasta) – 5th.
Antofagasta. Standing from left: Franklin
López, Juan Balbontín, Gustavo Huerta, Eduardo Peralta, Julio Moya,
row: Navid Contreras, Héctor Olivos, Jorge Américo Spedaletti,
Franklin Lobos, Jorge Luis Pons.
because they finished 5th
only on better goal-difference. But good season anyway – with 53
points, they were just 3 points behind the champions.
and the 7th
went to the promotion/relegation tournament, but there were still
three open spots in the new First Division – and now the 'good
venue' factor was employed... it looks ridiculous: Huachipato
(Talcahuano) finished 20th
and under normal circumstances may have been relegated to the Third
Division – but now they were promoted to the First. So were Green
Cross (Temuco) - 15th
in the final table.
Wanderers (Valparaiso) was the third of this group – and the
strongest: they were 12th.
Good for those clubs, but it still does not make sense – all of
them were in the lower half of the table. Others had stronger season
– but never mind. Good luck to all promoted in the next season.
real unlucky were Cobresal and Union Calera – they went to the
relegation/promotion tournament, facing Union Espanola (12th
in First Division) and Palestino (13th
in First), lost, and remained in Second Division – when, without
any extra work, Huachipato moved up. Weird. By the way, those, coming
from First Division to play in the promotion/relegation tournament
added to the weirdness: normally, they should have been save and not
endangered by relegation. But that is for the First Division
championship. One last thing for the future: not all promoted
participated immediately in the 1983 championship: Green Cross and
Huachipato joined First Division only at Campeonato Oficial and in
many records is actually stated that they were promoted to top flight
only after the end of 1983 Campeonato Apertura. Go figure...
I am Vesselin Vesselinov, born in Bulgaria and living in Canada. Football is my hobby since childhood – not the most important part of my life, but lifelong addiction nevertheless. Playing, watching, talking and collecting football. Now I am sharing my addiction with you. Hope you enjoy it.