El Dorado (football)

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El Dorado is the term used to refer to the era in the Colombia football league from 1949 to 1954, when the league broke away from FIFA.[1]

The DIMAYOR, the organizer of the league, broke away from FIFA after a dispute with Adefútbol, the existing amateur football authority in Colombia. Therefore, all Colombian teams were suspended from playing international football. The Colombian national team was also under sanction. However, FIFA sanction did not hurt the league; instead, the Colombian league reached its golden era during the period.[1]


The Colombia football league turned professional in 1948. That year, Independiente Santa Fe had been champion. Later, the DIMAYOR decided to leave the Colombian Football Federation, due to internal disputes, thus FIFA suspended the league and the national team from all the international tournaments.

In 1948, the Argentine Football Association faced General Juan Domingo Perón and began a strike that caused the migration of several of the most important footballers of Argentina to the Colombian league. The Colombian league was saved by two factors: the arrival of Argentinian players into Colombia, and as the Colombian league was not affiliated to FIFA, the Colombian clubs were not required to pay transfer fees under FIFA rules. Alfonso Senior, the chairman of Millonarios, decided to bring several Argentine players taking advantage of the condition in which they were.[2]

In 1949, Millonarios signed Adolfo Pedernera, a star of River Plate. He joined to Millonarios on June 8, 1949. He arrived in Bogotá on June 10 and was greeted at the Aeropuerto de Techo by 5,000 fans. The club made 5 times more money on the day of the player's presentation than they earned on a regular league. All the clubs in Colombia realized how a star as Adolfo Pedernera generated revenue and they also started to sign players from South America and Europe:[3]

In 1950, the DIMAYOR agreed to end El Dorado through the Pacto de Lima[6] with the FIFA, but with the requirement that the foreign players would return to their countries in 1954.

See also[edit]