The Liga de Fútbol de Primera División, commonly known as Liga FPD, and Liga Promérica for sponsorship reasons, is the top professional association football division in Costa Rica. It is administered by the Unión de Clubes de Fútbol de la Primera División (UNAFUT). The league consists of 12 teams, with the last-placed team relegated to the Liga de Ascenso.
|Founded||13 June 1921|
|Number of teams||12|
|Level on pyramid||1|
|Relegation to||Liga de Ascenso|
|International cup(s)||Champions League|
|Current champions||San Carlos (1st title) |
|Most championships||Saprissa (34 titles)|
|TV partners||ESPN 2|
The International Federation of Football History & Statistics (IFFHS) ranks the Liga FPD as the 51st strongest league in the world, and the 2nd strongest within CONCACAF, behind Mexico's Liga MX.
The league was founded in 1921, with Herediano crowned as the first champions. Saprissa is the most successful club having won the championship a record 34 times. Saprissa, joined with Alajuelense (29 titles) and Herediano (27 titles) have dominated the league.
The Liga FPD features a format in which two separate tournaments are held over the course of one particular season. The tournaments are named Torneo de Invierno and Torneo de Verano, based on the Costa Rican seasons; as a result, the Invierno tournament is played during the rainy season between August and December, while the Verano tournament is played during the dry season between January and May.
A separate tournament is played on stages. The first stage follows the usual double round-robin format. During the course of a tournament, each club plays every other club twice, once at home and once away, for a total of 22 matchdays. Teams receive three points for a win, one point for a draw, and no points for a loss. Teams are ranked by total points, with the top-four clubs at the end of the stage qualifying to the second stage. The second stage consists of a quadrangular in which the best four teams qualified will face each other twice again, adding 6 additional matchdays. If the top team of the first stage also wins the quadrangular, the club will be crowned as champions; otherwise, a double-legged final will be played between the winners of the first stage and the winners of the quadrangular to determine the champion.
Promotion and relegationEdit
A system of promotion and relegation exists between the Primera División and the Segunda División. In spite of having two champions during a regular season, the Liga FPD only relegates one team per season based on the aggregate performance in both Invierno and Verano tournaments. The last-placed team in the aggregate table is relegated to the Liga de Ascenso.
Qualifying for CONCACAF competitionsEdit
The top teams in the Liga FPD qualify to the CONCACAF Champions League. Starting in the 2017–18 season, the CONCACAF Champions League will be separated into two stages. The first stage is CONCACAF League, which consists of sixteen teams from Central America and the Caribbean, in which the winner qualifies to the second stage, the Champions League, joining other fifteen teams. Because of this format, the qualification criteria in the Liga FPD are:
- If one team wins both the Invierno and Verano tournaments
- The double champion will qualify directly to the second stage of the Champions League
- The two non-champion teams with the best aggregate record at the end of the season will qualify to the CONCACAF League
- If two teams are crowned champions over the season
- The champion with the best aggregate record will qualify directly to the second stage of the Champions League
- The champion with the worst aggregate record will qualify to the CONCACAF League
- The non-champion team with the best aggregate record will qualify to the CONCACAF League
On 13 June 1921, the Costa Rican Football League was created. With its creation, the need of a tournament also emerged, along with the establishment of a national team, as a result of Costa Rica being invited to the 1921 Juegos del Centenario in Guatemala.
The first season of the Costa Rican Primera División was played in 1921 with seven teams: Alajuelense, Cartaginés, Herediano, La Libertad, Sociedad Gimnástica Española, Sociedad Gimnástica Limonense and La Unión de Tres Ríos. La Libertad and Gimnástica Limonense played the first ever match of the Liga FPD, with La Libertad emerging victorious with a lone goal scored by Rafael Madrigal. Herediano were crowned as champions.
In 1999, the Costa Rican Football Federation created the UNAFUT (acronym of Unión de Clubes de Fútbol de la Primera División), an entity designed for the organization and administration of the Primera División tournament and its youth leagues (known as Alto Rendimiento).
On 9 January 2014, UNAFUT decided to rename the tournament to Liga FPD, in order to give more identity to the league.
The main rivalry in the league is El Clásico, played by Alajuelense and Saprissa, as both teams are the most successful in the league and both share the vast majority of followers throughout the country. Since their first encounter at the old national stadium on 12 October 1949, the two teams have faced each other in over 300 matches, with the winning balance in favor of Saprissa.
The league currently consists of the following 12 clubs.
|Liga Deportiva Alajuelense||Alajuela, Alajuela||Alejandro Morera Soto||18,000|
|Club Sport Cartaginés||Cartago, Cartago||José Rafael "Fello" Meza||13,500|
|Municipal Grecia||Grecia, Alajuela||Allen Riggioni||4,000|
|Guadalupe F.C.||Guadalupe, San José||"Colleya" Fonseca||4,500|
|Club Sport Herediano||Heredia, Heredia||Eladio Rosabal Cordero||8,500|
|Limón F.C.||Limón, Limón||Estadio Juan Gobán||3,000|
|A.D. Municipal Pérez Zeledón||San Isidro de El General, San José||Estadio Municipal||6,000|
|Santos de Guápiles F.C.||Guápiles, Limón||Ebal Rodríguez||3,000|
|Deportivo Saprissa||San Juan de Tibás, San José||Ricardo Saprissa||23,112|
|La U Universitarios||Desamparados, San José||"Cuty" Monge||5,500|
|A.D. San Carlos||Ciudad Quesada, Alajuela||Carlos Ugalde Álvarez||5,600|
|A.D.R. Jicaral||Jicaral, Puntarenas||Luis "Chochi" Briceño||1,000|
Performance by clubEdit
|Saprissa||1952, 1953, 1957, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1982, 1988, 1989, 1993–94, 1994–95, 1997–98, 1998–99, 2003–04, 2005–06, 2006–07, Invierno 2007, Verano 2008, Invierno 2008, 2010 Verano, 2014 Verano, 2014 Invierno, 2015 Invierno, 2016 Invierno, 2018 Apertura|
|Alajuelense||1928, 1939, 1941, 1945, 1949, 1950, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1966, 1970, 1971, 1980, 1983, 1984, 1990–91, 1991–92, 1995–96, 1996–97, 1999–00, 2000–01, 2001–02, 2002–03, 2004–05, 2010 Invierno, 2011 Verano, 2011 Invierno, 2012 Invierno, 2013 Invierno|
|Herediano||1921, 1922, 1924, 1927, 1930, 1931, 1932, 1933, 1935, 1937, 1947, 1948, 1951, 1955, 1961 (ASOFUTBOL), 1978, 1979, 1981, 1985, 1987, 1992–93, 2012 Verano, 2013 Verano, 2015 Verano, 2016 Verano, 2017 Verano, 2018 Apertura|
|La Libertad||1925, 1926, 1929, 1934, 1942, 1946|
|Cartaginés||1923, 1936, 1940|
|Pérez Zeledón||2017 Apertura|
|Liberia Mía||2009 Clausura|
|A.D. San Carlos||2019 Clausura|
|5||Luis Diego Arnáez||1987–2005||579|
- Molina Salas, José Pablo. "Legacy Irazú es el balón oficial presentado por Voit para la Liga FPD". www.unafut.com (in Spanish). Retrieved 18 May 2017.
- "Liga Promerica será el nuevo concepto del fútbol de la primera división". unafut.com. Retrieved 14 July 2019.
- "¿Quiénes Somos?". www.unafut.com (in Spanish). Retrieved 18 May 2017.
- Ley, Robert (5 April 2017). "THE STRONGEST NATIONAL LEAGUE IN THE WORLD 2016 : SPAIN SINCE 2010 ! | IFFHS". IFFHS.com. International Federation of Football History & Statistics. Retrieved 18 May 2017.
- "Primera División". www.unafut.com (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 9 August 2017. Retrieved 18 May 2017.
- Coto, Gerardo. "1921". UNAFUT.com. UNAFUT. Retrieved 25 May 2017.
- Vargas, Gabriel (10 January 2014). "Fission es el balón que se usará en el torneo de Verano 2014". La Nación (in Spanish). Retrieved 25 May 2017.
- "Una rivalidad que divide a los ticos". FIFA.com (in Spanish). FIFA. 21 February 2014. Retrieved 5 June 2017.
- "Primera División". www.unafut.com (in Spanish). UNAFUT. Archived from the original on 9 August 2017. Retrieved 25 May 2017.
- "Club de los 100". www.unafut.com (in Spanish). UNAFUT. Archived from the original on 1 July 2017. Retrieved 25 May 2017.
- "Jugadores con más partidos de campeonato nacional". www.unafut.com (in Spanish). UNAFUT. Retrieved 25 May 2017.
- (in Spanish) UNAFUT - Primera División de Costa Rica
- (in Spanish) Federación Costarricense de Fútbol (Football Federation of Costa Rica)
- (in English) Costa Rica - List of Champions and Runners Up, RSSSF.com
- (in English)Primera División summary(SOCCERWAY)