Primera División de Costa Rica is a professional league for association football clubs in Costa Rica. At the top of the Costa Rican league system, it is the country's primary football competition. Contested by 12 clubs, it operates on a system of promotion and relegation with Segunda División. The seasons are separated by two single tournaments each year, the Apertura (opening), from July to December, and the Clausura, from January to May. Thus, there are two champions each season with teams playing anywhere from 32 to 44 games each, totalling 412 games in the season. Most games are played on Saturdays and Sundays, but recently there have been games programmed on Friday afternoons and Monday nights. Also the league has some Wednesday nights available to program games if any club needs it. The Campeonatos de Invierno and Verano are sponsored by Junta Protección Social-ProGol.
The competition formed on June 13, 1921 following an invitation presented by Guatemala to Costa Rica to participate in its Centenary Games. A total of 12 clubs have won the title. The current champions are Alajuelense, who won the 2013 Campeonato De Invierno.
The current Primera División season has two championships. The format of both championships is the same. It has been modified numerous times over the last few years. The actual format consists in 12 teams playing against each other 2 games (away and home) for a total of 22 games for each club. The first 4 places automatically advance to a semifinal leg. The winners of that leg advance to the finals, which determines the tournament champion and runner up.
The winners of both tournaments (Invierno and Verano) will qualify to the CONCACAF Champions League tournament. In case that the same team wins both tournaments, the second qualified team will be the one that made more points in regular seasons.
In 1999, the FEDEFUTBOL, created UNAFUT to operate the Primera División and the Alto Rendimiento and Juvenil Especial (botj Youth Development Leagues from Primera Division clubs).
Other Classics and Derbys
Note that there is a difference between a Classic and a Derby. The classic is a game in which there is a big rivalry between the teams and remains or increases over the years. A derby is played between two teams that falls in the same town or city.