Big Five (Argentine football)

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The Big Five (Spanish: Cinco Grandes) is a term which refers to the main five teams of Argentine association football. In alphabetical order, they are Boca Juniors, Independiente, Racing Club, River Plate and San Lorenzo de Almagro.

The term was coined in the 1930 decade, with the establishment of the Argentine Football Association (AFA). The AFA arranged a system of proportional representation for the involved sport clubs: the vote of the clubs with either 15.000 members and at least 20 years playing the tournament and 2 or more championships would weight threefold, the vote of clubs with 20 years playing the tournament and 10.000 to 15.000 members or 1 championship would weight twofold, and the vote of the others would have the standard value. Boca Juniors, Independiente, Racing Club, River Plate and San Lorenzo de Almagro were the only five clubs who qualified for the threefold vote. The five teams would have a leading role in Argentine football since then, and during the first 36 years of the AFA (1931 to 1966) no team outside the five got the championship. The first one to do so was Estudiantes de la Plata, in 1967.

These five teams are also the most popular in Argentina and the only ones that have fans in all the country (and not only in specific cities or regions). Boca Juniors (38%), River Plate (37%), Independiente (5%), Racing Club (4%) and San Lorenzo de Almagro (3.9%) hold almost the 88% of the fanbase in Argentina, being the biggest and most successful football clubs.

The Big Five clubs are all based in Greater Buenos Aires (Boca Juniors, River Plate and San Lorenzo de Almagro located in the autonomous city of Buenos Aires, while Independiente and Racing Club in Avellaneda, a city within the adjacent metropolitan area, part of the Buenos Aires Province).

The term is currently used as a jargon within the Argentine football, rather than with an actual definition; and sympathizers of other teams propose the idea of a "Sixth Big". The group has no defined order either.

There are two derbies among the Big Five: the Superclásico between Boca Juniors and River Plate, considered one of the biggest and most importants derbies in the world, and the Avellaneda derby between Independiente and Racing Club, the second most important of the country. San Lorenzo de Almagro's derby is with Huracán, which is not popularly considered among the Big Five, but achieved the threefold vote in 1946.