Diego Maradona escapes relegation as Argentina abandons season

Coronavirus means World Cup legend's Gimnasia are saved from the drop

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Diego Maradona looks to have succeeded in his remit of keeping Gimnasia in the Argentine top flight – although not how the World Cup winner had planned.

Argentina declared on Monday its football season was to be cancelled because of the coronavirus crisis, with no relegation for two seasons.

The decision will be officially confirmed on Tuesday. On Saturday, President Alberto Fernandez extended its nationwide quarantine period until May 10.

“We are ending the tournaments,” Claudio Tapia, president of the Argentine Football Association, said.

“The idea is to restart play, but when authorities allow it and with maximum security.”

Tapia said promotion would continue, although he did not clarify from which divisions. The Primera Division, Argentina’s lead division, concluded on the first weekend of March with Boca Juniors crowned champions.

However, the decision means the Copa Superliga, a 24-team tournament scheduled to end in a play-off in May, has been cancelled.

Relegation, which is decided by a complicated calculus of points per game taken over a three-year period, will be suspended this season and next. The decision will be welcomed by the bottom three clubs, which includes Maradona’s Gimnasia.

Maradona, who formerly managed in the UAE with Al Wasl and Fujairah, took the reins at Gimnasia last September with the Primera Division club in the relegation zone.

After less than three months in charge, Maradona announced he was quitting following the club president's departure, only to rejoin the team two days later.