As one of the last countries to host the World Cup, Argentina had already been prepared for this moment for some time. The country first began hosting international friendlies against top competition in 1967, and by 1969 a special commission had been formed to investigate how to prepare for a serious run at hosting the 1978 World Cup. After several meetings, in 1972 it was decided that regionalization of football would be beneficial for the domestic game in Argentina. Each of the 23 main provinces received its own club and founded its own league; Santa Fe, Entre Ríos, and Formosa created regional leagues with clubs from both within their borders as well as from other provinces; and two regional tournaments were organized by groups of friends who played once every two months on neutral fields. The Northern League (in which Tucumán participated as an observer) and The Southern League (that included Santiago del Estero). A national professional championship was also created between 1973 and 1976 called Nacional de Football Amateur –LNFA– that involved teams from all these different leagues.
It consisted of three stages:
- First, a qualifying stage where provincial champions fought for six places in the following stage.
- second, eight groups of four teams each playing home and away matches.
- third, semi-finals, and final. This was done so that when they started organizing the 1978 World cup bid it wouldn’t take too long to get ready.
Biggest and most important change: A professional league
The main change in Argentine football was the creation of a new, national, professional league that would include teams from Santa Fe and Entre Ríos who could not participate in the Argentine Football Association league because they were not affiliated with that association due to having only recently been given autonomous status. This league would feature teams from the provincial leagues and be open to players who had not played in the national league before. The league was expected to generate the funds that would be necessary to complete all the preparations needed for hosting such a massive event.
Another aspect that needed to be improved was the number of stadiums that were available for fans to attend matches in the country. The fact that the World Cup would be hosted in more than one city was a very important detail in the Argentine bid that would change the direction of how the country would be hosting the tournament. The most important city that needed to have a new stadium in Buenos Aires, as the Estadio Monumental would not be able to host all the matches due to the high demand. So, the construction of the Estadio de Boca Juniors, the Estadio de River Plate, and the Estadio Ciudad de La Plata was prioritized so that they could host the three group stages of this amazing competition.
Changes to Argentine FA infrastructure
The main change in Argentine FA infrastructure was the creation of a special committee of managers and officials by the name of Organización 1978 that would have the main objective of organizing the entire World Cup event in the country. This committee would have a specific role in each of the different areas of the organization, such as stadiums, transportation, accommodation, etc. The committee members were the following:
- President: Dr. Raúl Lucía (Secretary General of the AFA)
- Vice President: Dr. Luis Pasquini (President of the Juventud de Asociaciones de Fútbol)
- General Secretary: Juan José Liendo (Director of the National Institute of Sports)
- Organizing Secretary: Dr. Emilio Gutiérrez Rolón (Director of the National Institute of Sports)
- Finance Secretary: José Brol (Director of the Santa Fe Institute of Sports)
New training facilities and equipment
In order to train more effectively during tournaments and national competitions, the Argentine FA wanted to create new training facilities and acquire new training equipment. Some of the new training facilities that were created include the Estadio Ciudad de La Plata and Estadio de Boca Juniors. There were also new types of equipment that were starting to be used by players in order to increase the quality of the game. Some of these pieces of equipment are listed below.
- Adidas Tango-Football: This was the official match ball of the tournament.
- Adidas Teamwear: Official team wear was manufactured by Adidas.
- Adidas Y-82: These were the official training shoes of the tournament.
- Adidas Team-80: These were the official training clothes of the tournament.
- Adidas Team-82: These were the official training clothes of the tournament.
Hosting the 1978 World Cup in Argentina was a massive undertaking. The country had never hosted a major international sporting event before and therefore had to prepare itself logistically and administratively to host the event. In order to do this, the country first needed to improve its football infrastructure. This was done by building new stadiums, improving existing stadiums, and creating a new national league that would include teams from different provinces in Argentina. In addition to this, the country also needed to create new rules and regulations for the event, as well as train using new training facilities and equipment.