Association football in Honduras

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Association football is a national sport in Honduras.[1][2] The first professional clubs were founded in the early 1900s, and the Honduran national football team played its first international match in 1921.[3] There are about 60 professional and amateur football teams, organized into three national divisions: the Liga Nacional de Fútbol de Honduras, the Liga Nacional de Ascenso de Honduras (promotion league) and the Liga Mayor de Futbol de Honduras (major league).


There are many accounts of how association football started in Honduras.[4] Luis Fernando, a son of French immigrants, recorded that some merchants in Puerto Cortes had given him a football in 1896, and that soccer was played in Honduras since then. In 1906, the republic's government hired a Guatemalan professor named Miguel Arcangel to teach soccer at the Escuela Normal de Varones in Tegucigalpa. Three years later, the Spanish monk Niglia introduced the game at the Instituto Salesiano San Miguel in Comayagua.

Football became popular, especially in higher classes, although it couldn't compete against baseball, which remained the most popular sport until 1917. In 1912, the team known as Juventud Olimpica founded the Club Deportivo Olimpia. Other clubs were founded in Tegucigalpa, such as Lituania, Signos, Trebol, Honduras, Atletico Deportes, La Nueva Era, Colon and Spring. None of them exist now.

In the second most important city, San Pedro Sula, football began to gain strength only with the foundation of Club Deportivo Marathón. Some contemporary historians say that a club named Club Patria existed before Marathón, but only for a very small time. The president of the Republic, Dr. Miguel Paz Barahona, named the sporting fields[which?] Patria Marathón.

In 1928 Club Deportivo Motagua was founded and named after the river Motagua, which was then in dispute between Guatemala and Honduras. A year later in San Pedro Sula, Real España (known since 1977 as Real Club Deportivo España) was founded.

Honduran Football Association[edit]

The national association is the Federación Nacional Autónoma de Fútbol de Honduras (FENAFUTH), headquartered in Tegucigalpa. The FENAFUTH was founded in 1951 by representatives of a small number of Hondurian clubs. It joined FIFA in the same year and CONCACAF ten years later.

National team[edit]

The Honduran national football team is nicknamed los Catrachos. It played against Guatemala in 1921 in Guatemala City, in the very first international football match. Its best results so far were qualifying in the 1982 2010 and 2014 World Cups.

Honduras also has national under-23, under-20 and under-17 football teams.

Football competitions[edit]

National League[edit]

The Liga Nacional de Fútbol de Honduras is the highest league in Honduran football and has 10 member clubs. The next two leagues are Liga de Ascenso (promotion league) and Liga Mayor. Winning the Liga Nacional is considered the greatest achievement in Honduran football and guarantees qualification for the CONCACAF Champions League, the annual international club football championship for teams from the CONCACAF region. The National League was founded in 1965.

History of the league[edit]

In the 1930s, soccer experienced a surge in popularity in the country. In 1948, with the birth of the Francisco Morazán Major Football League, the idea of organizing Honduran football began to take shape.

Olimpia, Federal, Motagua, Argentina and Real España were the pioneers of the Liga Mayor. The first championship began in 1948 in the recently inaugurated Estadio Tiburcio Carias Andino, when Victoria became champions by beating Motagua. They did so again in 1951. Due to the high support the League received at this time, the Confederacy Sports School Extra of Honduras (F.N.D.E.H.) was founded.

The cancellation of the court of the Stadium "Municipal" of San Pedro Sula was the catalyst that caused the sport's leaders of the northern and central parts of Honduras to join forces and caused the disappearance of the F.N.D.E.H.[clarification needed]

On March 8, 1951, Juan Manuel Galvez gave life to the F.N.D.E.H. by signing presidential decree I number 97. A decade later, under the leadership of Hémerito F. Hernández and Féderico Bunker Aguilar (who had pioneered the creation of CONCACAF at the same time), the idea of the First National League of Soccer took shape between 1962 and 1963. Thanks in part to the help of executives who had studied in Mexico, such as Alejandro Talbott, the structure of that country's league was copied. On 3–4 April 1964, the 15th National Congress created the league, and it founded the National Professional League of Honduras, LINAFUTH, on 10 May of that year.

The president of the Sports Confederacy was Marvin A. Cuadra M. and the secretary was journalist Plutarco Saavedra Son. Several teams, including Olimpia, Troya, España, Honduras de El Progreso, Vida, Marathón, Motagua, La Salle, and Atlético Español Glidden, sent delegates, who were selected as the first Provisional Board of Directors, comprising: President Oscar Lara Mejía, Secretary José T. Castañeda, Treasurer Jesus J. Handal, with Humberto Soriano Aguilar, Oscar Kirckonell, Alfredo Bueso and René Bendeck.

The first matches of the new National League were played on 18 July 1965 with the following results: Olimpia 3–0 Marathón; España 1–0 Troya; Honduras 3–0 Atlético Español; Vida 4–1 Motagua; and Platense 6–2 La Salle. Pedro Deras of El Progreso de Honduras was the first scorer of the National League in the 5th minute against Atlético Español. Platense was the first professional champion of Honduras, winning the three rounds. Atlético Español finished last, but there was no relegation.

The teams of the first division are[when?] (alphabetically): Deportes Savio, Hispano, Marathón, Motagua, Olimpia, Platense, Real España, Real Juventud, Victoria, and Vida. Real España is the only non-Spanish club to have received recognition from Spanish royalty (real is "royal" in Spanish).

Qualification for international competitions[edit]

Clubs who win the Liga Nacional qualify to compete in CONCACAF competitions in the following season. Currently,[when?] Honduras has the following places in North American competitions:

Competition Who qualifies? Notes
CONCACAF Champions League Champion and Runners-up Winners of the opening and closing tournaments of the Liga Nacional. If the same club wins both tournaments, the club with the highest points accumulated with the two tournaments qualifies.



For more details on this topic, see List of Honduran football stadiums by capacity.