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Ecuadorian Serie A

The Primera Categoría Serie A, simply known as the Serie A or the Primera A, is a professional football league in Ecuador. At the top of the Ecuadorian football league system, it is the country's premier football competition. Contested by sixteen clubs, it operates a system of promotion and relegation with the Serie B, the lower level of the Primera Categoría. The season runs from February to December and is usually contested in multiple stages. It is sponsored by beer company Pilsener and is officially known as the Copa Pilsener Serie A.

Liga PRO Ecuador
Founded1957; 62 years ago (1957)
Number of teams16
Level on pyramid1
Relegation toSerie B
Domestic cup(s)Copa Ecuador
International cup(s)Copa Libertadores
Copa Sudamericana
Current championsLDU Quito (11th title)
Most championshipsBarcelona (15 titles)
Top goalscorerErmen Benítez (191)
WebsiteOfficial webpage
2019 Serie A season

While initially not a league, the Serie A has its roots in the national championship between the top teams of Ecuador's two regional leagues. For the first nine editions, teams from Guayaquil and Quito qualified to the competition through their professional regional leagues. It abandoned the qualification format to form a proper league in 1967. Since the first edition in 1957, the tournament has been held annually (except 1958 and 1959); the 2005 season had two champions. It was ranked by IFFHS as the 13th strongest football league in the world for 2011, and the 5th strongest in South America.[1]

Eight different teams have been crowned Ecuadorian champions, but four teams have a combined total of 46 championships. The most successful club is Barcelona with fifteen titles. The defending champion is LDU Quito.


The format for the Serie A national championship changes consistently. The most common format is a two-stage tournament, in which teams qualify to a mini-league (Spanish: Liguilla) to determine the champion. The current format was introduced for the 2010 season and consists of three stages. The First and Second Stages each follow the double round-robin format. The winners of each stage play against each other in the Third Stage for the championship. A third-place match also takes place in the Third Stage between the next two-best teams in the aggregate table. If the same team wins both the First and Second Stage, they are automatically the champion. In this case, the second and third best teams in the aggregate table play against each other for runner-up.

Relegation takes place after the Second Stage and is determined using an aggregate table of the first two stages. As well as playing to win the championship and avoid relegation teams also compete for places in the following season's Copa Libertadores and Copa Sudamericana.


All football in Ecuador was played at amateur level until 1950 when the Guayas Football Association (Spanish: Asociación de Fútbol del Guayas [AFG]) turned professional and held its first professional tournament for affiliated clubs (for clubs in Guayaquil). The Professional Football Championship of Guayaquil (Spanish: Campeonato Professional de Fútbol de Guayaquil) was first held in 1951 and was won by Río Guayas. In 1954, the football association in Pichincha (current the Asociación de Fútbol No Amatur de Pichincha [AFNA]) decided to turn professional and hold a professional tournament of their own for their affiliated clubs (for clubs in Quito & Ambato). The first Inter-Andean Professional Championship (Spanish: Campeonato Professional Interandino) was held in 1954 and was won by LDU Quito.

The two tournaments were the top-level football leagues in Ecuador, but the champion of each could not claim to be the national champion. That changed in 1957 when a national football tournament was organized for the winners the two leagues. The first Ecuadorian Football Championship was contested between the champion and runner-up of the 1957 Campeonato Professional de Fútbol de Guayaquil of (Emelec & Barcelona, respectively) and the champion and runner-up of the 1957 Campeonato Professional Interandino (Deportivo Quito and Aucas, respectively). Emelec won the tournament and became the first national champions of football in Ecuador.

No championship was held in 1958 and 1959. The tournament returned in 1960 using the same format as in 1957. This time the field grew from four teams to eight teams. This format continued until 1967 when a number of changes occurred: 1) the regional tournaments were discontinued after the 1967 season; 2) teams contesting the national championship from 1968 onwards were now part of the Primera Categoría; and 3) a second level of Ecuadorian football (Segunda Categoría) was put into play and a system of relegation and promotion began in 1967.

In 1971, the Primera Categoría was divided into two Series: Serie A & Serie B. Serie A was to be the top level of club football, while Serie B was the second, and Segunda the third. Between, 1983–1988, Serie B was merged into the Segunda, but the Serie A continued. Serie B was brought back in 1989, and has stayed as the second level since.

In 2005, the Campeonato Ecuatoriano was divided into two tournaments to crown two champions in one year. The two tournaments were called Apertura and Clausura. The tournament returned to its year-long format in 2006.


A total of 55 clubs have competed in the Serie A since the first season in 1957. Although Barcelona is the only club to have never been relegated, no club has ever played in every season. This anomaly is due to the fact that for the 1964 competition, teams from Guayaquil (including Barcelona and Emelec) declined to participate in the national championship.

The following sixteen clubs will compete in the Serie A during the 2019 season.

Club City Stadium Capacity
América de Quito Quito Olímpico Atahualpa 35,258
Aucas Quito Estadio Gonzalo Pozo Ripalda 21,689
Barcelona Guayaquil Monumental Banco Pichincha 57,267
Delfín Manta Jocay 17,834
Deportivo Cuenca Cuenca Alejandro Serrano Aguilar Banco del Austro 18,549
El Nacional Quito Olímpico Atahualpa 35,258
Emelec Guayaquil Arena Banco del Pacífico 38,963
Fuerza Amarilla Machala 9 de Mayo 16,456
Guayaquil City Guayaquil Christian Benítez Betancourt 10,152
Independiente del Valle Sangolquí Rumiñahui 7,233
LDU Quito Quito Rodrigo Paz Delgado 41,575
Macará Ambato Bellavista 16,467
Mushuc Runa Ambato Mushuc Runa 6,000
Olmedo Riobamba Olímpico 7,233
Técnico Universitario Ambato Bellavista 18,000
Universidad Católica Quito Olímpico Atahualpa 35,258

Champions by yearEdit

Barcelona has 15 championships, followed by Emelec with 14 titles, El Nacional with 13, LDU Quito with 11 titles, Deportivo Quito with 5 titles, and Deportivo Cuenca, Olmedo, and Everest with one title each. All the clubs that have won multiple titles have won back-to-back titles at least once. El Nacional and Emelec are the only two clubs to have won three titles in a row, El Nacional has done twice from 1976–1978 and 1982–1984, and C.S. Emelec from 2013-2015.

Season Champion (Title count) Runner-up Third place Leading goalscorer(s)[2]
1957 Emelec (1) Barcelona Deportivo Quito   Simón Cañarte (Barcelona; 4 goals)
No championship held
No championship held
1960 Barcelona (1) Emelec Patria   Enrique Cantos (Barcelona; 8 goals)
1961 Emelec (2) Patria Everest   Galo Pinto (Everest; 12 goals)
1962 Everest (1) Barcelona Emelec   Iris López (Barcelona; 9 goals)
1963 Barcelona (2) Emelec Deportivo Quito   Carlos Alberto Raffo (Emelec; 4 goals)
1964 Deportivo Quito (1) El Nacional LDU Quito   Jorge Valencia (América (M); 8 goals)
1965 Emelec (3) 9 de Octubre Barcelona   Helio Cruz (Barcelona; 8 goals)
1966 Barcelona (3) Emelec Politécnico   Pio Coutinho (LDU Quito; 13 goals)
1967 El Nacional (1) Emelec Barcelona   Tom Rodríguez (El Nacional; 16 goals)
1968 Deportivo Quito (2) Barcelona Emelec   Víctor Battaini (Deportivo Quito; 19 goals)
1969 LDU Quito (1) América de Quito Aucas   Francisco Bertocchi (LDU Quito; 26 goals)
1970 Barcelona (4) Emelec América de Quito   Rómulo Dudar Mina (Macará; 19 goals)
1971 Barcelona (5) América de Quito Emelec   Alfonso Obregón (LDU Portoviejo; 18 goals)
1972 Emelec (4) El Nacional Barcelona   Nelsinho (Barcelona; 24 goals)
1973 El Nacional (2) Universidad Católica Barcelona   Ángel Marín (América (Q); 18 goals)
1974 LDU Quito (2) El Nacional Deportivo Cuenca   Ángel Liciardi (Deportivo Cuenca; 19 goals)
1975 LDU Quito (3) Deportivo Cuenca Aucas   Ángel Liciardi (Deportivo Cuenca; 36 goals)
1976 El Nacional (3) Deportivo Cuenca Emelec   Ángel Liciardi (Deportivo Cuenca; 19 goals)
1977 El Nacional (4) LDU Quito Universidad Católica   Fabián Paz y Miño (El Nacional; 27 goals)
1978 El Nacional (5) Técnico Universitario Emelec   Juan José Pérez (LDU Portoviejo; 24 goals)
1979 Emelec (5) Universidad Católica Manta Sport   Carlos Miori (Emelec; 26 goals)
1980 Barcelona (6) Técnico Universitario Universidad Católica   Miguel Gutíerrez (América (Q); 26 goals)
1981 Barcelona (7) LDU Quito El Nacional   Paulo César (LDU Quito; 25 goals)
1982 El Nacional (6) Barcelona LDU Portoviejo   José Villafuerte (El Nacional; 25 goals)
1983 El Nacional (7) 9 de Octubre Barcelona   Paulo César (Barcelona; 28 goals)
1984 El Nacional (8) 9 de Octubre LDU Quito   Sergio Saucedo (Deportivo Quito; 25 goals)
1985 Barcelona (8) Deportivo Quito Filanbanco   Juan Carlos de Lima (Universidad Católica; 24 goals)
  Guga (Esmeraldas Petrolero; 24 goals)
1986 El Nacional (9) Barcelona Técnico Universitario   Juan Carlos de Lima (Deportivo Quito; 23 goals)
1987 Barcelona (9) Filanbanco Audaz Octubrino   Ermen Benitez (El Nacional; 24 goals)
  Hamilton Cuvi (Filanbanco; 24 goals)
  Waldemar Victorino (LDU Portoviejo; 24 goals)
1988 Emelec (6) Deportivo Quito No third-place awarded   Janio Pinto (LDU Quito; 18 goals)
1989 Barcelona (10) Emelec Deportivo Quito   Ermen Benítez (El Nacional; 18 goals)
1990 LDU Quito (4) Barcelona Emelec   Ermen Benítez (El Nacional; 33 goals)
1991 Barcelona (11) Valdez El Nacional   Pedro Varela (Delfín; 24 goals)
1992 El Nacional (10) Barcelona Emelec   Carlos Muñoz (Barcelona; 19 goals)
1993 Emelec (7) Barcelona El Nacional   Diego Herrera (LDU Quito; 21 goals)
1994 Emelec (8) El Nacional Barcelona   Manuel Uquillas (ESPOLI; 25 goals)
1995 Barcelona (12) ESPOLI El Nacional   Manuel Uquillas (Barcelona; 24 goals)
1996 El Nacional (11) Emelec Barcelona   Ariel Graziani (Emelec; 28 goals)
1997 Barcelona (13) Deportivo Quito Emelec   Ariel Graziani (Emelec; 24 goals)
1998 LDU Quito (5) Emelec No third-place awarded   Iván Kaviedes (Emelec; 43 goals)
1999 LDU Quito (6) El Nacional Emelec   Christian Botero (Macará; 25 goals)
2000 Olmedo (1) El Nacional Emelec   Alejandro Kenig (Emelec; 25 goals)
2001 Emelec (9) El Nacional Olmedo   Carlos Juárez (Emelec; 17 goals)
2002 Emelec (10) Barcelona El Nacional   Christian Carnero (Deportivo Quito; 26 goals)
2003 LDU Quito (7) Barcelona El Nacional   Ariel Graziani (Barcelona; 23 goals)
2004 Deportivo Cuenca (1) Olmedo LDU Quito   Ebelio Ordóñez (El Nacional; 24 goals)
2005 A LDU Quito (8) Barcelona No third-place awarded   Wilson Segura (LDU Loja; 21 goals)
C El Nacional (12) Deportivo Cuenca LDU Quito   Omar Guerra (Aucas; 21 goals)
2006 El Nacional (13) Emelec LDU Quito   Luis Miguel Escalada (Emelec; 29 goals)
2007 LDU Quito (9) Deportivo Cuenca Olmedo   Juan Carlos Ferreyra (Deportivo Cuenca; 17 goals)
2008 Deportivo Quito (3) LDU Quito Deportivo Cuenca   Pablo Palacios (Barcelona; 20 goals)
2009 Deportivo Quito (4) Deportivo Cuenca Emelec   Claudio Bieler (LDU Quito; 22 goals)
2010 LDU Quito (10) Emelec Deportivo Quito   Jaime Ayoví (Emelec; 23 goals)
2011 Deportivo Quito (5) Emelec El Nacional   Narciso Mina (Independiente José Terán; 28 goals)
2012 Barcelona (14) Emelec LDU Quito   Narciso Mina (Barcelona; 30 goals)
2013 Emelec (11) Independiente del Valle Deportivo Quito   Federico Nieto (Deportivo Quito; 29 goals)
2014 Emelec (12) Barcelona Independiente del Valle   Armando Wila (Universidad Católica; 20 goals)
2015 Emelec (13) LDU Quito Independiente del Valle   Miller Bolaños (Emelec; 25 goals)
2016 Barcelona (15) Emelec El Nacional   Maximiliano Barreiro (Delfín; 23 goals)
2017 Emelec (14) Delfín Independiente del Valle   Hernán Barcos (LDU Quito; 21 goals)
2018 LDU Quito (11) Emelec Barcelona   Jhon Cifuente (Universidad Católica; 37 goals)

Titles by clubEdit

All-time top goalscorersEdit

Ecuadorian Ermen Benítez is the league's all-time top-scorer, having scored 191 goals over 25 season. He is also holds the record for scoring the most goals for one team. The top active goalscorer is Ebelio Ordóñez.[3]

Rank Player Club(s) Years Goals Total goals
1   Ermen Benítez El Nacional 1980–90 154 191
Barcelona 1991–92 19
LDU Quito 1993 1
Green Cross 1994 12
LDU Portoviejo 1995 5
2   Jorge Ron El Nacional 1972–79 94 181
Universidad Católica 1980–84 73
Macará 1986 6
Aucas 1987 8
3   Ebelio Ordóñez Técnico Universitario 1996 13 159
El Nacional 1997–2004; 2006–07 137
Emelec 2005 0
Deportivo Quito 2008; 2009 9
4   Ángel Liciardi Emelec 1970–71 8 154
Deportivo Cuenca 1972; 1974–77 132
Barcelona 1978 14
5   Fabián Paz y Miño El Nacional 1972–88 153 153

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "The strongest National League in the World 2012". IFFHS. Retrieved January 11, 2011.
  2. ^ Andrés, Juan Pablo; Espinoza Añazco, Fernando (January 29, 2010). "Ecuador - List of Topscorers". website. RSSSF. Retrieved November 27, 2010.
  3. ^ Espinoza Añazco, Fernando (January 29, 2010). "Ecuador - List of All-Time Topscorers 1957-2009". RSSSF. Retrieved November 6, 2010.

External linksEdit