The league's season is divided into two tournaments called Apertura and Clausura. Both tournaments have an identical format. Each tournament has two stages: the first stage is a double round-robin round where each teams plays every other team twice, once at home and once away. The top-four teams advance to a final stage, a single-elimination culminating with a final match.
In 1987, a group of men, composed of Giancarlo Gronchi, Jan Domburg, Edgar Plazas, Jorge Zelasny, Ángel Valero and Juan Carlos Delgado, founded the Asociación Nacional Pro-Fútbol (ANAPROF for short) on February 26, 1988.
Their objective was to establish the bases to organize a professional footballers in Panama, in order to help the Panamanian football team in the long term.
The league was founded in as ANAPROF in 1988 after years of turmoil in Panamanian football. The season began on February 26, 1988 featuring with 6 teams participating. The league wasn't split into Apertura/Clausura seasons until 2001, previously the teams played a full season with all teams playing all other teams in a home and away set as is the standard in most European leagues today.
From 1994-96 there was a schism in Panamanian football as both the ANAPROF and LINFUNA existed as separate leagues. LINFUNA was recognized by FIFA, but the two leagues joined together to form a 12 team, single-table league in the 1996-97 season.
In 1997-98, the league was split into two groups for the regular season with an 8 team Play-off after the season was completed. The Quarter-Finals and Semi-Finals were two-leg Play-offs, but the Final was a single match.
In 1998-99, the league was moved down to 10 teams with the best 6 teams after a home-and-away season of 18 games moved on to the secondary tournament. Each team matched up against the other qualifying teams once and the top 4 of the 6 in terms of points moved on to the home-and-away Semi-Finals. The winners advanced to a single match Final.
In 1999-00, the league switched to a single table format for the opening round. The top 6 teams from the opening round moved on to the second round where they each played other qualifying teams once. The top 4 again moved to the home-and-away Semi-Finals. The winners of those series played in the single match Final.
The format from 1999-00 was again used in 2000-01.
In 2001, the previous format was again used, but in both Apertura and Clausura seasons for the first time with the first round seeing each team play just 9 games and not 18. The league began using the modern Grand Championship Play-off between the Apertura and Clausura winners in order to have an overall Champion.
In the 2002 Apertura, 8 teams in two separate groups of 4 teams. Each team played the teams in the other group one time and the teams from its own group twice, once at home and once away. The top two teams from each group qualified for the home-and-away Semi-Finals. The winners of those series played in the single match Final.
In the 2002 Clausura, 8 teams took part in single-table home-and-away season, that saw all 8 teams play 14 games. The top 4 teams qualified for a Semi-Final group where each team would again play home-and-away vs all other qualified teams. The top two teams then met in a two-leg home-and-away Championship, where the winner was determined by aggregate goals.
The 2003 Apertura used the same format as the 2002 Clausura.
In the 2003 Clausura, The 4 team Semi-Final group was dropped for a pair of home-and-away series featuring the top point getter from the 8 team, 14 game season face the fourth highest point earner and the second highest would face the third highest.
In 2004 ANAPROF increased from 8 to 10 teams.
In 2007 the Grand Championship format was abandoned, therefore there will be two champions from now on: Apertura and Clausura.
In the 2008 Apertura the league was split into two groups for the regular season (13 games only) with a 4 team Play-off after the season was completed. The Semi-Finals are two-leg Play-offs, and the Final is a single match.
In the 2008 Clausura the league played all 18 games and also the groups were joined. The last team in the aggregate table will play a relegation Play-off with the champion of Primera A.
In 2009 ANAPROF changes its name to Liga Panameña de Fútbol.