The División de Fútbol Profesional is the top-flight professional football league in Bolivia. Until 2017 it was known as the "Liga de Fútbol Profesional Boliviano" (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈliɣa ðe ˈfuðβol pɾofesjoˈnal βoliˈβjano]; English: Bolivian Professional Football League).

División de Fútbol Profesional
Founded1950; 74 years ago (1950)
CountryBolivia
ConfederationCONMEBOL
Number of teams16
Level on pyramid1
Relegation toCopa Simón Bolívar
Domestic cup(s)Copa Bolivia
Copa de la División Profesional
International cup(s)Copa Libertadores
Copa Sudamericana
Current championsThe Strongest (16th title)
(2023)
Most championshipsBolívar (30 titles)
Most appearancesJoselito Vaca
(653 caps)
Top goalscorerVictor Hugo Antelo
(350 goals)
TV partnersTigo Sports
Websitefbf.com.bo
Current: 2024 season

Since 1950, a total of 16 clubs have been crowned champions of the Bolivian football league system. The current champions are The Strongest, which won the title in the 2023 tournament. Bolívar is the most successful club in the league, with 30 titles to date.

History

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The organisation of football in Bolivia started in 1914 with the creation of regional associations and their respective competitions. The "La Paz Football Association" (Asociación de Fútbol de La Paz – AFLP) was the first organised body with 29 championships held between 1914 and 1949. The AFLP was considered for many years the top football tournament in the country. In 1950 the body modified its statutes allowing the professionalisation of the sport in Bolivia, so the "Torneo Profesional" was created.[1]

Between 1950 and 1959, only clubs from La Paz, Oruro (since 1954) and Cochabamba (1955) took part of the championship because football was still amateur in the rest of the regions.

At the end of 1960, the Bolivian Football Federation established a national championship, with the purpose of crowning a champion representing Bolivia in recently created Copa Libertadores. The competition, named "Copa Simón Bolívar", was contested by champions and runner ups of regional associations.

The demise of Bolivian national team in the 1978 FIFA World Cup qualification (where it was thrashed by Brazil 8–0 and Peru 5–0) encouraged some clubs to create their own league, so 16 teams separated from their respective associations to establish the "Liga de Fútbol Profesional Boliviano" (Bolivian Professional Football League – LFPB) to organise championships autonomously, in 1977.[2]

The creation of the LFPB ended the distinction. It also resulted in the creation of three separate entities: the FBF's role was restricted to the international representation of Bolivia in the sport, the newly created LFPB became the organizer of the sole first division tournament, and the LPFA, together with the rest of the regional associations, became the organizer of the second (and lower) division regionalized tournaments. It was the first and, until the formation of the basketball league (LIBOBASQUET) in 2014, the only professional sports league in the country.

In 2017, after a change of statutes in the FBF, the LFPB and the ANF were replaced by the "División Profesional" (professional division) and the "División Aficionados" (amateur division), both managed by the FBF from 2018 onwards.

Format overview

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The championship format has changed over the years. Beginning in 1977, the league ran with sixteen clubs divided into two series, but switched to fourteen clubs in two series playing two tournaments each year beginning in the mid 80s and economical problems with some teams led to another cut in the number of participants to twelve in 1991. Another change came in 2005 when teams decided to adapt to the International FIFA calendar, meaning the season would be played from August to June rather than from February to December, in order to avoid problems defining which teams would qualify for international tournaments. The league played a short tournament from February to June in 2005, and the official 2005-06 season started in August. This led to yet another problem — second division teams weren't keen on the idea of putting off relegation until June 2006. After negotiations, the league determined that relegation of the lowest standing club would take place after the completion of the Apertura tournament, making the Bolivian league an odd tournament where teams were relegated in the middle of the season. But this decision was overturned in November 2006 and the league switched back to a calendar-year season in 2007 starting with the Apertura tournament in March 2007. For the 2018 season, the number of teams was increased from twelve to fourteen.

Historically, teams from La Paz, Cochabamba and Santa Cruz have dominated the league. Until 2007 only San José won the league in 1995, but since then teams from the "big three" have struggled to win the league again and 3 teams from smaller cities have won it (Real Potosí, San José and Universitario).

Three teams share the record of never been relegated to "La Simón Bolivar" (2nd division): The Strongest, Oriente Petrolero and Bolívar (although they were relegated in 1969 before the LPFB era).

For the 2008 season, and for the first time, three tournaments were played instead of the usual two. The Apertura tournament was played from March to July on a round-robin system; the Clausura tournament played from August to October where the teams were divided into two series of 6 teams each, Group A comprised all western teams (plus Universitario) and Group B comprised all eastern teams (plus Wilstermann and Aurora), the top two teams of each group advanced to the semifinals and the finals. The newly instated play-off tournament consisted of home-away matches (and with away goals rule used for the first time).

An average points from the previous two seasons determines relegation, with the last placed team being directly relegated and replaced by the winner of the Copa Simón Bolívar. The team placed second-from-bottom plays a relegation play-off against the runner-up of the Copa Simón Bolívar.

Current teams (2024)

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Team City Stadium Capacity
Always Ready El Alto Municipal de Villa Ingenio 25,000
Aurora Cochabamba Félix Capriles 32,000
Blooming Santa Cruz de la Sierra Ramón Tahuichi Aguilera 38,000
Bolívar La Paz Hernando Siles 42,000
Guabirá Montero Gilberto Parada 13,000
GV San José Oruro Jesús Bermúdez 33,000
Independiente Petrolero Sucre Olímpico Patria 30,700
Jorge Wilstermann Cochabamba Félix Capriles 32,000
Nacional Potosí Potosí Víctor Agustín Ugarte 32,105
Oriente Petrolero Santa Cruz de la Sierra Ramón Tahuichi Aguilera 38,000
Real Santa Cruz Santa Cruz de la Sierra Real Santa Cruz 14,000
Real Tomayapo Tarija IV Centenario 15,000
Royal Pari Santa Cruz de la Sierra Ramón Tahuichi Aguilera 38,000
San Antonio Bulo Bulo Entre Ríos Carlos Villegas 17,000
The Strongest La Paz Hernando Siles 42,000
Universitario de Vinto Vinto Hipólito Lazarte 2,000

List of champions

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Tournament names:
  • 1950–1953: "Torneo Interdepartamental" (AFLP)
  • 1954–1959: "Torneo Integrado" (AFLP)
  • 1960–1976: "Copa Simón Bolívar"
  • 1977–2017: "Liga de Fútbol Profesional Boliviano"
  • 2018–present: "División de Fútbol Profesional"

Keys:

  • AFLP: Asociación de Fútbol de La Paz
  • AFC: Asociación de Fútbol Cochabamba
  • AFO: Asociación de Fútbol Oruro
Ed. Season Champion Runner-up Third place
1
1950 Bolívar (1) Litoral Unión Maestranza
2
1951 Always Ready (1) Bolívar Ferroviario
3
1952 The Strongest (1) Always Ready Ingavi
4
1953 Bolívar (2) Always Ready Ingavi
5
1954 Litoral (1) The Strongest Deportivo Municipal
6
1955 San José (1) Chaco Petrolero Bolívar
7
1956 Bolívar (3) Deportivo Municipal Litoral
8
1957 Integrado Always Ready (2) Deportivo Municipal Chaco Petrolero
Nacional [note 1] Jorge Wilstermann (1) Aurora San José
9
1958 Jorge Wilstermann (2) Deportivo Municipal San José
10
1959 Jorge Wilstermann (3) Always Ready Bolívar
11
1960 Jorge Wilstermann (4) Aurora Deportivo Municipal
12
1961 Deportivo Municipal (1) The Strongest Chaco Petrolero
1962 La Paz league was won by Chaco Petrolero but this is not considered a national title.
13
1963 Aurora (1) Jorge Wilstermann San José
14
1964 The Strongest (2) Deportivo Municipal 31 de Octubre
15
1965 Deportivo Municipal (2) Jorge Wilstermann Oriente Petrolero
16
1966 Bolívar (4) 31 de Octubre Jorge Wilstermann
17
1967 Jorge Wilstermann (5) Always Ready Blooming
18
1968 Bolívar (5) Guabirá Litoral
19
1969 Universitario de La Paz (1) Bolívar Oriente Petrolero
20
1970 Chaco Petrolero (1) The Strongest Oriente Petrolero
21
1971 Oriente Petrolero (1) Chaco Petrolero The Strongest
22
1972 Jorge Wilstermann (6) Oriente Petrolero Petrolero
23
1973 Jorge Wilstermann (7) Deportivo Municipal 31 de Octubre
24
1974 The Strongest (3) Jorge Wilstermann Bolívar
25
1975 Guabirá (1) Bolívar Oriente Petrolero
26
1976 Bolívar (6) Oriente Petrolero Guabirá
27
1977 The Strongest (4) Oriente Petrolero Bolívar
28
1978 Bolívar (7) Jorge Wilstermann Oriente Petrolero
29
1979 Oriente Petrolero (2) The Strongest Blooming
Bolívar
30
1980 Jorge Wilstermann (8) The Strongest Chaco Petrolero
31
1981 Jorge Wilstermann (9) Blooming Guabirá
Deportivo Municipal
32
1982 Bolívar (8) Jorge Wilstermann Blooming
Oriente Petrolero
33
1983 Bolívar (9) Oriente Petrolero Blooming
The Strongest
34
1984 Blooming (1) Bolívar Oriente Petrolero
The Strongest
35
1985 Bolívar (10) Jorge Wilstermann Real Santa Cruz
36
1986 The Strongest (5) Oriente Petrolero
37
1987 Bolívar (11) Oriente Petrolero
38
1988 Bolívar (12) The Strongest
39
1989 The Strongest (6) Oriente Petrolero
40
1990 Oriente Petrolero (3) Bolívar
41
1991 Bolívar (13) San José Oriente Petrolero
42
1992 Bolívar (14) San José Jorge Wilstermann
43
1993 The Strongest (7) Bolívar Blooming
44
1994 Bolívar (15) Jorge Wilstermann The Strongest
45
1995 San José (2) Guabirá Bolívar
46
1996 Bolívar (16) Oriente Petrolero The Strongest
47
1997 Bolívar (17) Oriente Petrolero Blooming
48
1998 Blooming (2) Jorge Wilstermann The Strongest
49
1999 Blooming (3) The Strongest Bolívar
50
2000 Jorge Wilstermann (10) Oriente Petrolero The Strongest
51
2001 Oriente Petrolero (4) Bolívar The Strongest
52
2002 Bolívar (18) Oriente Petrolero The Strongest
53
2003 Apertura The Strongest (8) Bolívar Jorge Wilstermann
54
Clausura The Strongest (9) Jorge Wilstermann Bolívar
55
2004 Apertura Bolívar (19) Aurora Jorge Wilstermann
56
Clausura The Strongest (10) Oriente Petrolero Real Potosí
57
2005 Adecuación Bolívar (20) The Strongest Oriente Petrolero
58
2005–06 Apertura Blooming (4) Bolívar Oriente Petrolero
59
Clausura Bolívar (21) Real Potosí Universitario de Sucre
60
2006 Segundo Torneo Jorge Wilstermann (11) Real Potosí Oriente Petrolero
61
2007 Apertura Real Potosí (1) Bolívar La Paz
62
Clausura San José (3) La Paz Blooming
63
2008 Apertura Universitario de Sucre (1) La Paz San José
64
Clausura Aurora (2) Blooming La Paz
Real Potosí
65
2009 Apertura Bolívar (22) Real Potosí San José
66
Clausura Blooming (5) Bolívar The Strongest
Oriente Petrolero
67
2010 Apertura Jorge Wilstermann (12) Oriente Petrolero Aurora
68
Clausura Oriente Petrolero (5) Bolívar Aurora
69
2011 Adecuación Bolívar (23) Real Potosí Oriente Petrolero
70
2011–12 Apertura The Strongest (11) Universitario de Sucre Oriente Petrolero
71
Clausura The Strongest (12) San José Oriente Petrolero
72
2012–13 Apertura The Strongest (13) San José Bolívar
73
Clausura Bolívar (24) Oriente Petrolero San José
74
2013–14 Apertura The Strongest (14) Bolívar San José
75
Clausura Universitario de Sucre (2) San José The Strongest
76
2014–15 Apertura Bolívar (25) Oriente Petrolero The Strongest
77
Clausura Bolívar (26) The Strongest Jorge Wilstermann
78
2015–16 Apertura Sport Boys (1) Bolívar The Strongest
79
Clausura Jorge Wilstermann (13) The Strongest Universitario de Sucre
80
2016–17 2016 Apertura The Strongest (15) Bolívar Oriente Petrolero
81
2017 Apertura Bolívar (27) The Strongest Guabirá
82
Clausura Bolívar (28) The Strongest Jorge Wilstermann
83
2018 Apertura Jorge Wilstermann (14) The Strongest San José
84
Clausura San José (4) The Strongest Royal Pari
85
2019 Apertura Bolívar (29) The Strongest Nacional Potosí
86
Clausura Jorge Wilstermann (15) The Strongest Bolívar
87
2020 Apertura Always Ready (3) The Strongest Bolívar
Clausura
(Cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic)
88
2021 Independiente Petrolero (1) Always Ready The Strongest
89
2022 Apertura Bolívar (30) The Strongest
90
Clausura
(Abandoned due to civil unrest in the Santa Cruz Department)[3]
91
2023 The Strongest (16) Bolívar Always Ready
92
2024
Notes
  1. ^ Dissident league tournament.
  2. ^ a b c d e f No third-place awarded.

Titles by club

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Rank Club Winners Runners-up Winning years Runners-up years
1 Bolívar
30
16
1950, 1953, 1956, 1966, 1968, 1976, 1978, 1982, 1983, 1985, 1987, 1988, 1991, 1992, 1994, 1996, 1997, 2002, 2004 Apertura, 2005 Adecuación, 2005–06 Clausura, 2009 Apertura, 2011 Adecuación, 2013 Clausura, 2014 Apertura, 2015 Clausura, 2017 Apertura, 2017 Clausura, 2019 Apertura, 2022 Apertura 1951, 1969, 1975, 1984, 1990, 1993, 2001, 2003 Apertura, 2005–06 Apertura, 2007 Apertura, 2009 Clausura, 2010 Clausura, 2013 Apertura, 2015 Apertura, 2016 Apertura, 2023
2 The Strongest
16
18
1952, 1964, 1974, 1977, 1986, 1989, 1993, 2003 Apertura, 2003 Clausura, 2004 Clausura, 2011 Apertura, 2012 Clausura, 2012 Apertura, 2013 Apertura, 2016 Apertura, 2023 1954, 1961, 1970, 1979, 1980, 1988, 1999, 2005 Adecuación, 2015 Clausura, 2016 Clausura, 2017 Apertura, 2017 Clausura, 2018 Apertura, 2018 Clausura, 2019 Apertura, 2019 Clausura, 2020 Apertura, 2022 Apertura
3 Jorge Wilstermann
15
9
1957, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1967, 1972, 1973, 1980, 1981, 2000, 2006 Segundo Torneo, 2010 Apertura, 2016 Clausura, 2018 Apertura, 2019 Clausura 1963, 1965, 1974, 1978, 1982, 1985, 1994, 1998, 2003 Clausura
4 Oriente Petrolero
5
15
1971, 1979, 1990, 2001, 2010 Clausura 1972, 1976, 1977, 1983, 1986, 1987, 1989, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2002, 2004 Clausura, 2010 Apertura, 2013 Clausura, 2014 Apertura
5 Blooming
5
2
1984, 1998, 1999, 2005–06 Apertura, 2009 Clausura 1983, 2008 Clausura
6 San José
4
5
1955, 1995, 2007 Clausura, 2018 Clausura 1991, 1992, 2012 Clausura, 2012 Apertura, 2014 Clausura
7 Always Ready
3
6
1951, 1957, 2020 Apertura 1952, 1953, 1959, 1963, 1967, 2021
8 Deportivo Municipal
2
5
1961, 1965 1956, 1957 Integrado, 1958, 1964, 1973
9 Aurora
2
4
1963, 2008 Clausura 1957, 1960, 1964, 2004 Apertura
10 Universitario de Sucre
2
1
2008 Apertura, 2014 Clausura 2011 Apertura
11 Real Potosí
1
4
2007 Apertura 2005–06 Clausura, 2006 Segundo Torneo, 2009 Apertura, 2011 Adecuación
12 Chaco Petrolero
1
2
1970 1955, 1971
Guabirá
1
2
1975 1995, 1968
14 Litoral
1
1
1954 1950
15 Independiente Petrolero
1
0
2021
Sport Boys
1
0
2015 Apertura
Universitario de La Paz
1
0
1969

References

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  1. ^ Comienza El Profesionalismo 1950-1959 Archived 2023-08-23 at the Wayback Machine on Historia del fútbol boliviano by Carlos Mesa Gisbert
  2. ^ Y nació la liga Archived 2023-08-23 at the Wayback Machine by Jaime Galarza, 2 Jan 2012
  3. ^ "El torneo Clausura de la División Profesional fue suspendido de forma definitiva" [The División Profesional's Clausura tournament was definitely suspended] (in Spanish). El Deber. 10 November 2022. Archived from the original on 23 August 2023. Retrieved 10 November 2022.
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