It’s famous for being the birthplace of some of the most gifted players to have ever pulled on a football jersey, such as Diego Maradona, Lionel Messi, Mario Kempes and Gabriel Batistuta. 

It’s also arguably home to the most fervent and committed football fans on the planet, with some 30-40,000 making the 17,000 mile-round trip to cheer on the national team at last year’s World Cup in Qatar.

Now the Scot known as the ‘father of Argentine football’ is to be honoured by the governing body of the sport in the country. 

The new official match ball of the Copa de la Liga Profesional (Professional League Cup) will pay homage to Alexander ‘Alejandro’ Watson Hutton, who founded the Argentine Football Association (AFA) 130 years ago in February of 1893. 

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The competition, which will be contested by 28 teams including the ‘big five’ of River Plate, Boca Juniors, Independiente, San Lorenzo and Racing Club, begins this week and will culminate in the final on December 16. 

The ‘Argentum 1893’ ball, which has been made by Adidas, includes a special design celebrating the 130 years of the AFA with the colours of the national flag of the Argentine Republic, as well as the three stars symbolising Argentina's three World Cup titles in 1978, 1986 and 2022.

The ball also contains a graphic that charts the path of Wilson Hutton from his native Scotland to Argentina, where he introduced and helped spread football as an activity in educational institutions - at a time when rugby and cricket already formed a part of the curriculum - and sports clubs across the country. 

Depicted within the graphic is a ship at sail, a map of South America, an image of a school, a football pitch and an old leather football, as well as an inscription which reads ‘A W Hutton’ and the words ‘padre del fútbol Argentina’ (father of Argentine football’).

Born in the Gorbals area of Glasgow in 1853, Watson Hutton, who was orphaned at a young age, received his education in Edinburgh, where he would graduate with an MA in Philosophy before he took up a teaching post at George Watson's College in the Merchiston area of the city.

In 1882, Watson Hutton emigrated to Argentina to take up a post as rector of Escuela Escocesa San Andrés (St Andrew’s Scots School) in Buenos Aires, which still exists today.

The school, which was established in 1838 to cater for the large Scottish community in the Argentine capital who came to work on the railways, is the oldest school of British origin in South America. 

At the beginning of 1884, Watson Hutton, then aged 30, founded Buenos Aires English High School, which would become home to the very first football pitch in the country.

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As a history of the school notes: “From the beginning, the practice of sport was introduced as an essential complement in the formation of the students. One of those sports became an Argentine passion: football. 

“We can say that the game was born at Buenos Aires English High School, since its practice began in the old boxes ceded to Watson Hutton by the then Argentine Central Railway and from there they moved to the current location of the school. 

“The founder, passionate about football, taught his students how to play the game by taking part in matches that the college played against other schools.”

Watson Hutton, who also refereed matches - is said to have ordered the very first footballs that arrived in Argentina in a shipment that arrived in Buenos Aires - which, by the 1890s, was home to an estimated 20,000 Brits - from Liverpool alongside other items of sporting equipment.

The Herald: A young Alexander ' 'Alejandro' Watson HuttonA young Alexander ' 'Alejandro' Watson Hutton (Image: Newsquest)

In 1891, the Scot helped establish the Argentine Association Football League (AAFL), which holds historic importance for having organised the first official championship outside the UK. 

Five teams would compete for the inaugural title; Old Caledonians, Buenos Aires and Rosario Railway, Buenos Aires Football Club, Belgrano Football Club and St. Andrews.

St. Andrew's would be declared champions after defeating Old Caledonians in a play-off match. Both teams made up entirely of Scots, including, in the case of Old Caledonians, employees of a British plumbing company working on a new sewage system for Buenos Aires. 

After the league was dissolved at the end of the season due to lack of funds, Watson Hutton went on to re-launch the AAFL in 1893, becoming its President. 

His revamped body is regarded as South America's first proper national football association and the precursor to the actual Argentine Football Association which governs the game to this day. 

Then in 1898, Watson Hutton formed a team alongside pupils from Buenos Aires English High School called English High School (later to be changed to Alumni Athletic Club), which won 10 league titles until 1911, when it was disbanded.

Following his death in 1936, the ‘Alejandro Watson Hutton’ AFA library was inaugurated in his honour in 1962 to acknowledge his role in the development of football in Argentina.