Which is Latin America’s most complex championship? Uruguay

March 5, 2009

This is the third instalment in our look at the wacky world of Latin American championships having started with an introduction and then analysed Peru’s interesting league system.

The Uruguayan championship is also a strange beast, short on crowds but big on maths. It is divided into two stages, the Apertura and Clausura, but also features another table, called the Anual, which consists of the standings for the two stages combined (in other words, a conventional league table).

At the end of the season, the winners of the Apertura and Clausura meet in a semi-final which is played over two legs. In an inspired move, the winners of this game then play off against the winners of the “Anual” in a final, also over two legs. (This may well make it the only championship in the world to have one semi-final).

You do not need to be wearing a big anorak to work out that there’s a fair chance than the same team could win both the Anual and either the Apertura or Clausura as well. What happens in that case? Here goes…..

Let’s say that Team A has won the Apertura and the Anual and that Team B has won just the Clausura. Team A and Team B will still meet in the semi-finals but if Team A win, they would win the title automatically (the alternative would be playing against themselves in the final).

However, if Team B win the semi-final, they face Team A (this time in the guise of Anual champions) again in the final.

If the semi-final ends in an aggregate draw, a replay is played. And if the final also ends in a draw, another replay is played. That means Team A and B could meet six times.

In fact, they could even meet a seventh time. Should Team B and Team A have finished level on points at the end of the Clausura, a play off would have been held to side decide that as well…..

Next up in the series: Mexico.

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I wonder what would happen were all of Latin America to merge their league systems together…

Posted by Hans Moman | Report as abusive

Uruguay has way too many teams in its league. For a country of just 3.5 million people, they shouldn’t have more than 10 in the top division but somehow they squeeze at least 16. It’s ridiculous and dilutes the talent.

Posted by Big E | Report as abusive

Um, that’s really no wackier than teams going 20 innings to decide a game. Or quadruple overtime. It’s actually pretty exciting. Uruguay’s system is fine. You’re being racist.

Posted by Footballer | Report as abusive