Argentina – What Do You Think?
A new season and a new President are bringing big changes for Argentine polo and we want to know what you think. The fixtures for the Argentine spring season have been set and the first major change that was announced was the addition of two more teams to the Argentine Open roster. Now other major rule changes are coming in, all with the intention of making the sport of polo more attractive to spectators (an initiative very much in keeping with the Fantasy objective of engaging people in the sport and encouraging them to interact with polo). We look at some of the proposed changes, how they will affect Fantasy Polo and the pros and cons. Some rules are being tested and some have been confirmed.
More teams: It was confirmed in July that 2 more teams would be joining the roster of both the Hurlingham and Palermo Opens. The Tortugas Open will have it’s customary 6 teams while the other 4 teams compete in a qualification tournament that will determine their standings and their zones for Hurlingham and Palermo. This has a huge impact on Fantasy as more teams means a bigger player pool to choose from, more combinations, more variety in handicap and player values, more fixtures and a more dynamic competition.
General positions: Once Palermo is over, the teams in 9th and 10th position automatically lose their place in the following Triple Crown and will have to go through the Qualification tournament if they wish to play again in the Hurlingham and Palermo Opens.
Tournament Format: The groups will work on an all play all basis. The team at the top of each league will play the final. With more teams in the roster, there will be more fixtures making for a more exciting and tactical Fantasy competition. All teams will play the same number of games meaning every player has the same point scoring opportunities even if they are on a weaker side.
Throw-ins: If the ball goes over the boards, through fault of a player or a horse, the team that did not hit it out will restart the game with a spot hit from where the ball went over. This will decrease the amount of throw ins significantly in each match and will therefore mean players earn fewer points in Fantasy but on the plus side the match will move along more quickly with more time for open plays.
Penalties: A player has 20 seconds to execute a play from the moment the umpire puts the ball in position.
Number of horses per game: Introducing a limit to the number of horses a player can take to a game is still under discussion. The limit currently stands at fourteen horses per player per game.
Chukkas: Tortugas will maintain a 7 chukka length per game; Hurlingham matches will now be seven chukkas long, down from eight; Palermo will maintain its 8 chukka length. Fewer chukkas means less time on the field and fewer point scoring opportunities.
Length of a chukka: Each chukka will now be six minutes long, with an additional 30 seconds. Again, less time playing means fewer point scoring opportunities but perhaps a quicker and more dynamic game? Or will the other rule changes mean the game moves quicker and therefore the chukkas can afford to be shorter?
Chukka after the first bell: If the ball touches the boards after the bell, play will continue as normal. This rule was tested in the US and UK seasons and seems to have worked well. If the match is tied in the final chukka, play will continue even if there is a foul or if the ball goes over the boards. The chukka will only come to an end if a goal is scored.
Penalty 1: A goal will be given to the attacking team. The Fantasy points for the goal go to the player who was fouled. That team will then restart the match with a mid-field penalty.
Changes: In the case of an injury, that player can exit the field and a replacement can come on. Once the injured player has received medical attention, he has the option of coming back onto the field. This is a big positive for Fantasy as it means that anyone with an injured player in their line up may not lose so many points in a match.
Ph: Katerina Morgan