SANTIAGO – Chile’s National Association of Professional Football cut its 2019 season short on Nov. 29. This leaves the Universidad Católica team as the winner of the National Championship in First Division. The decision to end the season early came after a month of uncertainty about game schedules due the ongoing social crisis in the country.
After weeks of uncertainty, Chile’s National Association of Professional Football (ANFP) terminated its 2019 season during a meeting of its Council of Presidents in Quilín on Nov. 29. The vote was 42 in favor, 5 against, and 1 abstention.
It was an unprecedented conclusion: the season ended because organizers did not have the “security conditions” necessary to continue in light of the ongoing social crisis, as reported by Tele13.
Along with determining that Universidad Católica is the champion of Chilean football, it was also decided that there would be no promotions or descents this season, so the Santiago Wanderers remain in Second Division and were not crowned as First B champion.
A Tough Decision
The AFNP Council of Presidents previously debated cutting the season short but lacked a quorum to do so. The football industry, as a whole, was also divided, as some clubs insisted that the season should be stopped (e.g., Colo Colo), while others wanted to continue to the end (e.g., Universidad Católica, Unión Española, and the Santiago Wanderers).
As the social unrest in Chile continued this week, however, the Council of Presidents had an overwhelming number of votes in favor of concluding the season.
The ANFP must now decide which team becomes the fourth representative in the next Copa Libertadores, a place won by the winner of the Chile Cup, a tournament in which Unión Española, Universidad de Chile, Colo Colo, and Universidad Católica were to play the semifinals.
Unhappy Santiago Wanderers
Given their accomplishments this season, the Santiago Wanderers feel that they were robbed of their chance to ascend to the First Division.
They released a statement rejecting “the sports injustice committed by the Council of Presidents of the ANFP against the Santiago Wanderers,” and said they were reserving the right to seek whatever justice was “necessary to achieve what [they] lawfully earn on the field.”
It remains to be seen, however, what if anything they can do about their predicament.
#WanderersTV: Los jugadores del Decano fueron parte de una hermosa manifestación de amor al club, que convocó a más de 3mil hinchas expresando su descontento por la injusticia deportiva en las calles de Valparaíso #WanderersNoSeRinde #juSWticia https://t.co/EhebCv3h8G 🎥💚👇
— Santiago Wanderers (@swanderers) December 1, 2019
Camila Huecho is a journalism student at Universidad de La Frontera in Temuco, currently interning at Chile Today. As a freelance illustrator and Fellow at the Melton Foundation, she works to bring information and cultures together through communications and art.