Amateur era in Argentine football
The amateur era in Argentine football lasted between 1891 and 1931, although there was an amateur rival association, the "Asociación Argentina de Football" (AAF) which organized its own championships from 1931 to 1934. One year later it merged with the existing professional league, "Liga Argentina de Fútbol" (LAF), being all its teams relegated to second division.
The first league tournament outside the United Kingdom took place in Argentina in 1891, it was dominated by British expatriate players and teams. The Scottish influence is evident in the names of the league's first winners and runners up. Over the following decades the Creole football population of Argentina adopted and came to dominate the game. The most successful team until then, Alumni, folded in 1911 putting an end to the British dominance of the game. Although many English Argentine footballers played for Argentina into the 1920s, and many descendants of English immigrants have played football at the highest level.
There were many divisions and re-unifications, several seasons featured two top-flights run by rival associations. The end of the Amateur era came in 1931 with the birth of the first professional Argentine league. The most successful surviving team of the Amateur era is Racing, that won nine league championships between 1913 and 1925, including seven in a row (1913–1919).
Towards the end of the amateur era, many of the best players, like Luis Monti, Renato Cesarini and Raimundo Orsi, were leaving Argentina to play in the professional leagues of Europe, especially Italy. The professional Argentine Primera was launched by 18 breakaway clubs in 1931. The amateur league survived until 1934.
The 18 teams that broke away to form the first professional league were: Atlanta, Argentinos Juniors, Boca Juniors, Chacarita Juniors, Estudiantes (LP), Ferro Carril Oeste, Gimnasia y Esgrima (LP), Huracán, Independiente, Lanús, Platense, Quilmes, Racing, River Plate, San Lorenzo, Talleres (RE), Tigre and Vélez Sársfield.
Titles by club
|Alumni||10||1900,[b] 1901, 1902, 1903, 1905, 1906, 1907, 1909, 1910, 1911|
|Racing||6||1913, 1914, 1915, 1916, 1917, 1918|
|Boca Juniors||6||1919, 1920, 1923, 1924, 1926, 1930|
|Lomas||5||1893, 1894, 1895, 1897, 1898|
|Huracán||4||1921, 1922, 1925, 1928|
|Belgrano AC||3||1899, 1904, 1908|
|Gimnasia y Esgrima (LP)||1||1929|
Top scorers by year
- Not to be confused with Club Atlético Lanús, founded in 1915.
- The Buenos Aires English High School changed its name to "Alumni" in 1901.
- The Federación Amateurs de Football (FAF) was a rival association that organized its own championships from 1912 to 1914.
- The Asociación Amateurs de Football (AAm) was a rival association that organized its own championships from 1919 to 1926.
- The Asociación Argentina de Football (AAF) was an amateur rival association that organized its own championships from 1931 to 1934. In 1935 it merged with the professional league Liga Argentina de Fútbol (LAF), being all its teams relegated to second division.
Apart from the Primera División championship, there were many tournaments played during the amateur era, some of them extended to professional era.
The domestic competitions were:
- Copa de Honor Municipalidad de Buenos Aires (1905–36)
- Copa de Competencia Jockey Club (1907–33)
- Copa Ibarguren (1913–58)
- Historia del Fútbol Amateur en la Argentina, by Jorge Iwanczuk. Published by Autores Editores (1992) - ISBN 9504343848
- Historia del Fútbol de AFA: Orígenes 1891/1899, by Carlos Yametti. Published by Edición del Author (2011) - ISBN 978-987-05-9773-5
- Alumni, Cuna de Campeones y Escuela de Hidalguía, by Ernesto Escobar Bavio. Published by Editorial Difusión (1953)