Salvadoran Primera División

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Salvadoran Primera División
Primera Division de Futbol de El Salvador logo.png
Country El Salvador El Salvador
Confederation CONCACAF
Founded 1969
Number of teams 10
Levels on pyramid 1
Relegation to Segunda División
Domestic cup(s) Copa Presidente
Copa Independencia
International cup(s) CONCACAF Champions League
Copa Interclubes
Current champions Isidro Metapán
(Clausura 2014)
Most championships FAS (17 titles)
Apertura 2014

The Primera División of the Liga de Fútbol Profesional (Professional Football League), more commonly known as La Liga Mayor or La Primera, is the top professional football league in El Salvador. It was established in 1969 and in 2011 had 10 clubs. Initially the league was run as a year-long tournament, but since 1998 there are two tournaments each year, much like in many other football leagues in the Americas. The Apertura season runs from August to December, while the Clausura season runs from February to July.

Competition format[edit]

La Liga Mayor follows the usual double round-robin format. During the course of a given season (Apertura or Clausura), each club plays every other club twice, once at home and once away, for a total of 18 games. 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 season progressing through to the finals. If points are equal between two or more clubs, goal difference usually determines their placement. Although when it comes to qualifying for the finals, if the team in fourth and fifth spot are equal on points, then a Repechaje or Playoff is needed to determine which team gains entry into finals.

A system of promotion and relegation exists between the Primera División and the Segunda División. In May each year, at the conclusion of both the apertura and clausura seasons, the team with the least amount of points on aggregate over both seasons, is automatically relegated to the Segunda División, while the team with the second least amount of points must participate in a Repechaje or Playoff with the runner-up of the Segunda División. The winner of this home and away playoff will be guaranteed a spot in the Primera División for the following season. This means that every year, a maximum of two teams could be relegated from the Primera División depending on the results of the Repechaje between the second last placed team in the Primera División and the runner-up of the Segunda División.

Qualification to CONCACAF Champions League[edit]

La Liga Mayor has two guaranteed spots in the CONCACAF Champions League. One spot in the Preliminary Round and another in the Group Stage. The winner of each apertura and clausura season gains automatic entry into this tournament. To determine which team enters the tournament at what stage, aggregate points over both seasons is used, with the team that has the most points overall progressing through to the Group Stage, and the other team going to the Preliminary Round. If the same team is to win both the apertura and clausura seasons, then that team automatically gains entry into the Group Stage, and again, aggregate points over both seasons is used to determine the second team that will qualify to the Preliminary Round.



In 1921, the Salvadoran Sports Commission (Comisión Nacional de Educación Física) held its very first National Sports Week. Although initially this event did not include any participation from football clubs, it would go on to be the basis of what would grow to be the Liga Mayor of today. In 1924, due to high demand, the commission included a football tournament in the annual Sports Week. Due to the enormous success of this event, it was decided that that starting in 1926 the Sports Week tournament would in turn become the country's official National Football Championship. The championship was to be contended by three teams who represent the three different zones of the country playing in a double round robin format. The first three teams to compete in the tournament were, Nequepio (Central Zone), Chinameca Sporting Club (Eastern Zone) and Olímpic (Western Zone). This format was used until 1930.


Controversy occurred after the 1929–30 championship when finalists Excélsior F.C. (who represented the western zone) complained that the second leg of the final against Hércules should not be registered, as they felt that the referee in that game had helped Hércules win the title. The Sports Commission did not agree and the result was not changed. As a result Excélsior F.C. withdrew from the tournament and Hércules was crowned champion. This led to there being talk of corruption from event organisers against teams from the western part of the country, and as a result teams from that zone refused to take part in any of the following Championships. Because of this there was no national playoff held again until 1937.

Return of the National Championship[edit]

The national championship returned to its original format in 1937, but was short lived, as once again, teams complained of there still being corruption within the tournament. Again as a result, there was no national championship during 1939 and 1941. Although no national championship was played, there was still regional championships which over time are now considered to be legitimate national championships.

During 1942 and 1943, the national championship was reinstated, but again, much like the first two times, there were problems and the championship was canceled. Again much like in 1939 and 1941, there were only regional championships held during 1944 and 1945, and again, these title are now considered national championships.

Introduction of a league format[edit]

In 1947 the Salvadoran Football Federation tried to organize a National Championship in league format, but this proved to be unsuccessful and the tournament was suspended after only a few rounds. It proved to be more successful the following season, but was postponed once again in 1949. Although this new format did not begin very well, because of a lack of organisation, it did prove to work very well during the 1950 championship, and throughout the 1950s.

The league begins to form[edit]

The 1950s saw interest in the league begin to grow nationwide and although the league did have some problems, with teams dropping out at the end of any given season, it would not affect the league as a whole, as there were various new teams that were anxious to take part in the league and take the place of those that had left. In 1955, league organisers announced that the championship would now be played out in a double round robin format, with a maximum of 10 teams taking part in the league. This year also saw the introduction of promotion and relegation into the league.

Switch to Apertura/Clausura format[edit]

In 1998, league officials decided to change the league format from a yearlong tournament to an Apertura/Clausura schedule, with the hope that it would garner more interest in the league and give a chance for its player to rest between seasons.

Current Teams[edit]

Apertura 2014/Clausura 2015
Name City Stadium First season in

first division

First season after

most recent promotion

Águila San Miguel Juan Francisco Barraza 1950–51 1959
Alianza San Salvador Estadio Jorge "Mágico" González 1959 1959
Atlético Marte San Salvador Cuscatlán 1950 2009
Dragón San Miguel Juan Francisco Barraza 2013 2013
FAS Santa Ana Oscar Quiteño 1948–49 1948–49
Isidro Metapán Metapán Jorge Calero Suárez 2001 (A) 2001 (A)
Juventud Independiente San Juan Opico Complejo Municipal 2008 (A) 2011 (A)
Pasaquina Pasaquina Estadio San Sebastián 2014 (A)
Santa Tecla Santa Tecla Estadio Las Delicias 2012 (A) 2012 (A)
UES San Salvador Estadio Universitario UES 1957–58 2010 (A)

Stadium and locations[edit]

Location of teams in Apertura 2014/Clausura 2015

Team Home city Stadium Capacity
Águila San Miguel Juan Francisco Barraza 10,000
Alianza San Salvador Estadio Jorge "Mágico" González 32,000
Atlético Marte San Salvador Estadio Cuscatlán 45,000
Dragón San Miguel Juan Francisco Barraza 10,000
FAS Santa Ana Estadio Óscar Quiteño 15,000
Isidro Metapán Metapán Estadio Jorge Calero Suárez 8,000
Juventud Independiente San Juan Opico Complejo Municipal 5,000
Pasaquina Pasaquina Estadio San Sebastián 5,000
Santa Tecla Santa Tecla Estadio Las Delicias 3,000
UES San Salvador Estadio Universitario UES 10,000

Important matches[edit]


Further information: Salvadoran football champions

Teams in bold are currently participating in La Liga Mayor.

  • (#) – Current Primera Division Champion
  • (†) – Defunct national team
Team Championships Runners-up Winning Years
1951–1952, 1953–1954, 1957–1958, 1961–1962, 1962, 1977–1978, 1978–1979, 1981, 1984, 1994–1995, 1995–1996, Clausura 2002, Apertura 2002, Apertura 2003, Apertura 2004, Clausura 2005, Apertura 2009
1959, 1960–1961, 1963–1964, 1964, 1967–1968, 1972, 1975–1976, 1976–1977, 1983, 1987–1988, Apertura 1999, Apertura 2000, Clausura 2001, Clausura 2006, Clausura 2012
1988–1989, 1990–1991, 1991–1992, 1992–1993, 1997–1998, Clausura 1999, Clausura 2000, Apertura 2007, Clausura 2008, Clausura 2013
1965-66, 1966–67, 1986–87, 1989–90, 1993–1994, 1996–1997, Apertura 1998, Apertura 2001, Clausura 2004, Clausura 2011
Isidro Metapán #
Clausura 2007, Apertura 2008, Clausura 2009, Clausura 2010, Apertura 2010, Apertura 2011, Apertura 2012, Apertura 2013, Clausura 2014,Apertura 2014,
Atlético Marte
1955, 1955–1956, 1956–57, 1968–1969, 1970, 1980–1981, 1982, 1985
1927, 1928, 1929–1930, 1930–1931, 1931–1932, 1932–1933, 1933–1934
1941, 1942, 1943, 1944, 1945
C.D. 33
1937, 1938, 1939
Once Municipal
1948–1949, Apertura 2006
Juventud Olímpia
1971, 1973
1950–1951, 1952–1953
1934–1935, 1935–1936
San Salvador
Clausura 2003
Chinameca S.C.
Vista Hermosa
Apertura 2005

External links[edit]