Chilean Primera División
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|Number of teams||18|
|Levels on pyramid||1|
|Relegation to||Primera B|
|Domestic cup(s)||Copa Chile|
|International cup(s)||Copa Libertadores
|Current champions||Unión Española
|Most championships||Colo-Colo (29 titles)|
The Primera División del Fútbol Profesional Chileno [pɾiˈmeɾa ðiβiˈsjon del ˈfutβol pɾofesjoˈnal tʃiˈleno] (English: Chilean First Division of Professional Football) is the top tier league of the Chilean football league system. It is organized by the Asociación Nacional de Fútbol Profesional (English: National Association of Professional Football) and is currently ranked 9th in the IFFHS' Best Leagues of the World ranking. In 2010, the league became known as the Campeonato Nacional Petrobras (locally: [kampeoˈnato nasjoˈnal peˈtɾoβɾas]) for sponsorship reasons.
Resembling the Primera División Mexicana league system, the Chilean First Division is currently played by 18 teams, which play two single-round tournaments per season.
First, the Apertura tournament is played (usually held between January and June), and then is followed by the Clausura tournament (between July and December). For each Apertura and Clausura tournament, a single round-robin tournament, called the regular phase, is played first. Afterwards, a post-season play-off begins, where the best eight teams in each single-round tournament eliminate each other in the knockout tournament format in two-leg aggregate-score. In this way, there are two champions per season.
The Chilean League of Football has never been regular in terms of their tournament systems. Traditionally, the League had consisted in one annual, double round-robin tournament, with the addition of a Cup, but the number of contesting teams and League format has varied throughout the years, until the adoption of the Mexican system in 2002.
Relegation and promotion
Very much like the tournament format, the relegation/promotion (to Primera B) has changed throughout the years.
Currently, the two teams with the worst scores in the complete season (including Apertura and Clausura, but excluding the play-off stage), are relegated to Primera B, and replaced by the Champions and Runners-up of this Division. There is also a Relegation Playoff Tournament, played in a home-and-away basis by the teams that finish 15º and 16° in the First Division against the teams that finish 3° and 4° in the Primera B.
Qualification for International competitions
The champions of the Apertura and Clausura of each season are immediately qualified to Copa Libertadores for the next year. The third Chilean spot in that tournament is used by the team with the highest score in the Clausura regular phase (that is, excluding the play-offs).
For the Copa Sudamericana, the qualification system changes every year. For the 2007 season, a small tournament was played by the top four teams in the Apertura. The winners of that tournament (Colo-Colo and Audax Italiano) qualified for Copa Sudamericana 2007.
The dawn of football in Chile
Football arrived at Chile during the last decades of the nineteenth century. At first, football was played at some port cities, and with the highest popularity in Valparaíso, Coquimbo, Antofagasta, Iquique and Talcahuano. Originally, football was not so popular in Santiago, the capital of Chile, but soon the popularity was comparable to the aforementioned areas.
On June 19, 1895, the Football Association of Chile (FAC) was established in Valparaíso. It was the first organization trying to co-ordinate the existing clubs of the city to contest in ordinary competitions. Valparaíso F.C., Victoria Rangers, Mac Kay and Sutherland Athletic, Chilean F.C. joined, upon Santiago National Athletic, Santiago Rangers, Valparaíso Wanderers and National F.C. were united quickly.
On May 23, 1906, the Asociación de Fútbol de Santiago (AFS) was set up in Santiago to organize competition in the capital, whereas the FAC changed its name to the Spanish version Asociación de Fútbol de Chile, on September 14, 1912, to unite various regional associations. In the early twenties, there arose the Federación de Football de Chile as the competing organization of Asociación de Fútbol de Chile. The problem between the two bodies caused FIFA to remove Chile's membership in 1925. As a result, the two organizations merged on January 24, 1926, forming the present Federación de Fútbol de Chile (FFCh).
Football was played in different local associations in an amateur manner until the twentieth century, when football started to turn professional in Valparaíso and Santiago, where football competitions were consistently at the prominent level in Chile at that time. Chilean football truly professionalized in the 1930s. At that time, different teams paid salaries to their players, despite being illegal, and this phenomenon occurred even on international level. In 1933, eight big clubs at that time, namely, Unión Española, Badminton, Colo-Colo, Audax Italiano, Green Cross, Morning Star, Magallanes and Santiago National, left the ASF over a dispute on salaries policy, and used the reduced percentage of their income which originally had to submit to the AFS to found the Liga Profesional de Football de Santiago (LPF) on May 31, 1933. The newly formed body was recognized by the Federación de Fútbol de Chile on June 2, 1933.
The first edition of professional competition was contested by the eight founding teams and was won by Magallanes after defeating Colo-Colo in a decisive match. In the following year, according to the disposition of Federación de Fútbol de Chile, Liga Profesional returned to integrate with the AFS. Like part of the negotiations for reunification, four teams from AFS, namely, Ferroviarios, Carlos Walker, Deportivo Alemán, and Santiago F.C., would join the 1934 professional competition. Moreover, it was also decided that the last six teams in the 1934 competition would be eliminated to form the new second division in 1935. The title of the 1934 edition was again clinched by Magallanes, which won 10 out of the 11 matches this year.
The professional competition was confined to teams from Santiago at the first few years. Santiago Wanderers joined the league in 1937 and was the first club in the league coming from other regions. However, its participation in the league was just occasional and it did not contest in the league in the following years, until it rejoined the league with Everton de Viña del Mar, its classic rival, in 1944. Everton de Viña del Mar captured the title in 1950, becoming the first national champions not coming from the capital city. Not until 1953 did a third team from other areas, Rangers de Talca, was admitted to the league, after which had been crowned the runners-up of the second division in 1952.
The lack of regularity of format has been one of the characteristics of the Chilean football league. Since the first edition, a variable number of teams had taken part in the competition under different formats, so no any single format had been adopted for a long time. One of the major problems in the early years was the small number of competing teams. With merely a few teams, it was difficult to schedule matches throughout the year. In order to tackle this problem, the Torneos de Apertura (Opening Tournament) format was derived. For every year, an Apertura tournament was played before the Campeonato Oficial (Official Competition), so that more matches could be played.
In the following years, the formats kept changing, as well as the number of contesting teams. Initially, there were only seven teams, then it increased to 18 between 1962 and 1980, and 16 between 1987 and 2003, although in 1984 26 teams competed, and in 2008 the competition was reduced to 20 teams.
The modern format and controversy
Since 2002, the format of Primera División de México was adopted, with a short single round-robin and play-off to determine the winner, crowning two champions every year. (Apertura and Clausura tournament)
This format has been criticized by some of the teams and fans, who indicate that the champions was not always the best team of the league, since play-offs are considered a tournament on their own.
Nonetheless, the leader of the league indicated that the format has managed to arouse the emotion of the matches, especially in decisive rounds, and the attendance of the matches has been increasing in recent years.
There are currently 18 teams playing the Primera División for the 2013-14 season
Champions by season
Fourteen clubs have been the Primera División champion. Of those fourteen, ten have won the titles more than once. The most successful club is Colo-Colo with 29 titles. They are followed by Universidad de Chile (15 titles) and Universidad Católica (10 titles). Magallanes, Cobreloa, Universidad de Chile, and Colo-Colo are the only clubs to have won the title consecutively. Colo-Colo hold the record for the longest winning streak, winning four titles the 2006 Apertura to the 2007 Clausura.
Titles by club
|Colo-Colo||29||1937, 1939, 1941, 1944, 1947, 1953, 1956, 1960, 1963, 1970, 1972, 1979, 1981, 1983, 1986, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1993, 1996, 1997 Clausura, 1998, 2002 Clausura, 2006 Apertura, 2006 Clausura, 2007 Apertura, 2007 Clausura, 2008 Clausura, 2009 Clausura|
|Universidad de Chile||16||1940, 1959, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1967, 1969, 1994, 1995, 1999, 2000, 2004 Apertura, 2009 Apertura, 2011 Apertura, 2011 Clausura, 2012 Apertura|
|Universidad Católica||10||1949, 1954, 1961, 1966, 1984, 1987, 1997 Apertura, 2002 Apertura, 2005 Clausura, 2010|
|Cobreloa||8||1980, 1982, 1985, 1988, 1992, 2003 Apertura, 2003 Clausura, 2004 Clausura|
|Unión Española||7||1943, 1951, 1973, 1975, 1977, 2005 Apertura, 2013 Transición|
|Audax Italiano||4||1936, 1946, 1948, 1957|
|Everton||4||1950, 1952, 1976, 2008 Apertura|
|Magallanes||4||1933, 1934, 1935, 1938|
|Santiago Wanderers||3||1958, 1968, 2001|
|Huachipato||2||1974, 2012 Clausura|
The following table lists the Chilean football champions by region.
|Region||Nº of titles||Clubs|
|Metropolitan||74||Colo-Colo (29), Universidad de Chile (16), Universidad Católica (10), Unión Española (7), Magallanes (4), Audax Italiano (4), Palestino (2), Santiago Morning (1), Green Cross (1)|
|Valparaíso||8||Everton (4), Santiago Wanderers (3), San Felipe (1)|
- "The strongest National League in the World 2009". IFFHS. Retrieved December 22, 2010.
- Chilean League 1934
- Juan Cristóbal Guarello (2008-02-28). "Las patas y el buche" (in es). Archived from the original on 2008-02-29. Retrieved 2008-02-28.
- Andrés, Juan Pablo (December 11, 2009). "Chile - List of Topscorers". RSSSF.
- Chile national champions at RSSSF
- Web de Noticias y de Hinchas
- El mejor foro de futbol chileno