The Liga de Fútbol de Primera División, commonly known as Liga FPD,[1] and Liga Promérica for sponsorship reasons,[2] 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).[3] The league consists of 12 teams, with the last-placed team relegated to the Liga de Ascenso.

Liga FPD
Liga Promerica.svg
Founded13 June 1921; 100 years ago (1921-06-13)
CountryCosta Rica
ConfederationCONCACAF
Number of teams12
Level on pyramid1
Relegation toLiga de Ascenso
International cup(s)Champions League
CONCACAF League
Current championsClub Sport Herediano (29th title)
(2021 Clausura)
Most championshipsSaprissa (36 titles)
TV partnersESPN 2
Multimedios
Repretel
Teletica
WebsiteUNAFUT.com
Current: 2020–21 season

The league was founded in 1921,[3] with Herediano crowned as the first champions.[4] Saprissa is the most successful club having won the championship a record 36 times. Together with Alajuelense (30 titles) and Herediano (29 titles), they have dominated the league.

Competition formatEdit

 
Former logo

The Liga FPD features a format in which two separate tournaments are held over the course of one particular season. The Torneo de Apertura (Spanish for "Opening Tournament") lasts from July to December, while the Torneo de Clausura (Spanish for "Closing Tournament") lasts from January to May. From 2007 to 2017, these were known respectively as Torneo de Invierno ("Winter Tournament") and Torneo de Verano ("Summer Tournament"), based on the Costa Rican seasons, with the Invierno tournament played during the rainy season and the Verano tournament played during the dry season.

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 Apertura and Clausura 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 Apertura and Clausura 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

HistoryEdit

 
Saprissa's Christian Bolaños disputes the ball against Alajuelense's Rónald Matarrita. Alajuelense and Saprissa have the biggest rivalry in the league, known as El Clásico

On 13 June 1921, the Costa Rican Football Federation 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.[5]

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.[5]

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).[3]

On 9 January 2014, UNAFUT decided to rename the tournament to Liga FPD, in order to give more identity to the league.[6]

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.[7]

ClubsEdit

The league currently consists of the following 12 clubs.

 
Given certain circumstances, most teams of the Liga FPD play some home matches at the Estadio Nacional
Team Location Stadium Capacity
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 José Joaquín "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
Sporting F.C. Pavas, San José Ernesto Rohrmoser 2,000
A.D. San Carlos Ciudad Quesada, Alajuela Carlos Ugalde Álvarez 5,600
A.D.R. Jicaral Jicaral, Puntarenas Asociación Cívica Jicaraleña 1,500

ChampionsEdit

Performance by clubEdit

Teams Winners Runners-up Winning seasons
Saprissa
36
18
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 Clausura, 2020 Clausura, 2021 Clausura
Alajuelense
30
24
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, 2020 Apertura
Herediano
29
22
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, 2019 Apertura. 2021 Apertura
La Libertad
6
7
1925, 1926, 1929, 1934, 1942, 1946
Cartaginés
3
10
1923, 1936, 1940
Orión
2
6
1938, 1944
Puntarenas
1
3
1986
Pérez Zeledón
1
1
2017 Apertura
Uruguay
1
1
1963
Brujas
1
0
2009 Invierno
Carmelita
1
0
1961 (FEDEFUTBOL)
Liberia Mía
1
0
2009 Clausura
UCR
1
0
1943
A.D. San Carlos
1
0
2019 Clausura

[8]

Player recordsEdit

Top scorersEdit

Rank Nat Name Goals
1    Víctor Núñez 244
2   Errol Daniels 196
3   Roy Sáenz 168
4   Leonel Hernández 164
5   Guillermo Guardia 149
6   Evaristo Coronado 148
7   Alejandro Alpízar 147
8   Erick Scott 144
9   Juan Ulloa, Álvaro Saborío 140
10   Vicente Wanchope 133

[9]

Most appearancesEdit

 
Danny Fonseca is the fourth most capped player in the Liga FPD
Rank Nat Name Years Apps
1   Marvin Obando 1979–2000 685
2   Julio Fuller 1975–1994 684
3   Enrique Díaz 1977–1996 676
4   Danny Fonseca 1999–2018 652
5   Luis Diego Arnáez 1987–2005 579
6   Mauricio Montero 1980–1990 556
7   Wílmer López 1992–2009 550
8   Óscar Ramírez 1983–1999 546
9   Evaristo Coronado 1981–1995 536
10   Luis Quirós 1986–2000 531

[10]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ 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.
  2. ^ "Liga Promerica será el nuevo concepto del fútbol de la primera división". unafut.com. Retrieved 14 July 2019.
  3. ^ a b c "¿Quiénes Somos?". www.unafut.com (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 6 June 2017. Retrieved 18 May 2017.
  4. ^ "Primera División". www.unafut.com (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 9 August 2017. Retrieved 18 May 2017.
  5. ^ a b Coto, Gerardo. "1921". UNAFUT.com. UNAFUT. Archived from the original on 8 August 2017. Retrieved 25 May 2017.
  6. ^ 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.
  7. ^ "Una rivalidad que divide a los ticos". FIFA.com (in Spanish). FIFA. 21 February 2014. Archived from the original on January 1, 2018. Retrieved 5 June 2017.
  8. ^ "Primera División". www.unafut.com (in Spanish). UNAFUT. Archived from the original on 9 August 2017. Retrieved 25 May 2017.
  9. ^ "Club de los 100". www.unafut.com (in Spanish). UNAFUT. Archived from the original on 1 July 2017. Retrieved 25 May 2017.
  10. ^ "Jugadores con más partidos de campeonato nacional". www.unafut.com (in Spanish). UNAFUT. Archived from the original on 28 July 2014. Retrieved 25 May 2017.

External linksEdit