6, 8, 10 & 12, apart from being multiples of two, are the numbers which are mentioned frequently when discussing Argentine polo. How many teams should play the Argentine Open? Opinions are split. For many years just six teams played the Argentine and Hurlingham Opens, while another six played the Camara over on Palermo’s ground two. Then the decision was made to have a total of eight teams. Many seasons passed in which two zones of four teams was the norm, but players kept asking to have ten teams in Palermo.
The players rose to power this May, and their voices were heard: Ten teams would play Palermo. There were voices of opposition, however. Facundo Pieres stated that he preferred eight teams, but that he was willing to try the new format. The season began and ten teams made it to the Open, but as time goes by, more and more discontent voices can be heard, like those of Pablo Mac Donough and Horacio Heguy.
But the debate is still open, especially after Tuesday’s game between La Dolfina and La Albertina witnessed the lowest attendance ever at Palermo’s number one ground. How many teams should play Palermo? There are plenty of options to consider, but three seem to stand out:
– Two categories of six teams each, which would take the number of participating teams to 12, but there would be a system of ascension and relegation.
– Go back to two zones of eight, also with ascension and relegation, instead of the gruelling qualifying tournament.
– Continue with ten teams and the current format.
Games were played on weekdays because of the number of teams and the need to fit everything in. But what if ground two games were played at 17:30, and ground one games at night, from 20:30 onwards? The issue of night polo has been raised many times, but it continues to be controversial. Surely night polo on a Wednesday and a Thursday would attract more spectators than the current 14:00 and 16:300 timings?
Everything is up for discussion. What shall we do with Palermo? How do we improve the spectacle and attract more people? A fundamental question that needs to be answered.