Costa Rican Primera División

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Unión de Clubes de Fútbol
de la Primera División
Unafut oficial.PNG
Country Costa Rica
Confederation CONCACAF
Founded June 13, 1921
Number of teams 12
Levels on pyramid 1
Relegation to Segunda División de Costa Rica
International cup(s) CONCACAF Champions League
Current champions Deportivo Saprissa (31)
(Torneo Invierno 2014)
Most championships Deportivo Saprissa (31)
TV partners Teletica Canal 7, Extra TV 42, Repretel
Website Official website

Primera División de Costa Rica (also known as the Costa Rican FPD) is a professional league for association football clubs in Costa Rica.[1] 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 de Costa Rica. 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 Saprissa, who won the Torneo Invierno 2014.


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 the year 1921, the Liga Nacional de Fútbol was created by Liga Deportiva Alajuelense, CS Cartaginés, CS Herediano, Club Sport La Libertad, Sociedad Gimnástica Española de San José, Club Sport La Unión de Tres Ríos and Sociedad Gimnástica Limonense, and the Primera División was born. In 1931 the league was centralized and renamed as Federación Deportiva de Costa Rica, then Federación Nacional de Fútbol and in the 1970s to Federación Costarricense de Fútbol (FEDEFUTBOL).

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.

Clubs in 2014 Apertura season[edit]

The league currently consists of the following 12 clubs. For the 2014 Apertura season, teams are aligned as follows:

Defunct franchises[edit]

List of champions year by year[edit]

Year Winner Runner-up
1921 Herediano Gimnástica Española
1922 Herediano La Libertad
1923 Cartaginés La Libertad
1924 Herediano Cartaginés
1925 La Libertad Herediano
1926 La Libertad Cartaginés
1927 Herediano La Libertad
1928 Alajuelense Gimnástica Española
1929 La Libertad Alajuelense
1930 Herediano Gimnástica Española
1931 Herediano Orión
1932 Herediano La Libertad
1933 Herediano Gimnástica Española
1934 La Libertad Alajuela Junior
1935 Herediano Alajuela Junior
1936 Cartaginés La Libertad
1937 Herediano Gimnástica Española
1938 Orión Gimnástica Española
1939 Alajuelense Herediano
1940 Cartaginés Orión
1941 Alajuelense La Libertad
1942 La Libertad Gimnástica Española
1943 Universidad de Costa Rica Alajuelense
1944 Orión Herediano
1945 Alajuelense Orión
1946 La Libertad Herediano
1947 Herediano La Libertad
1948 Herediano Alajuelense
1949 Alajuelense Orión
1950 Alajuelense Saprissa
1951 Herediano Orión
1952 Saprissa Alajuelense
1953 Saprissa Herediano
1954 Vacated
1955 Herediano Saprissa
1956 Vacated
1957 Saprissa Alajuelense
1958 Alajuelense Saprissa
1959 Alajuelense Saprissa
1960 Alajuelense Herediano
1961 ASOFUTBOL Herediano Saprissa
1961 FEDEFUTBOL Carmen Uruguay de Coronado
1962 Saprissa Alajuelense
1963 Uruguay de Coronado Saprissa
1964 Saprissa Orión
1965 Saprissa Alajuelense
1966 Alajuelense Saprissa
1967 Saprissa Alajuelense
1968 Saprissa Cartaginés
1969 Saprissa Alajuelense
1970 Alajuelense Saprissa
1971 Alajuelense Saprissa
1972 Saprissa Alajuelense
1973 Saprissa Cartaginés
1974 Saprissa Herediano
1975 Saprissa Cartaginés
1976 Saprissa Barrio México
1977 Saprissa Cartaginés
1978 Herediano Puntarenas
1979 Herediano Cartaginés
1980 Alajuelense Herediano
1981 Herediano Limonense
1982 Saprissa Puntarenas
1983 Alajuelense Puntarenas
1984 Alajuelense Saprissa
1985 Herediano Alajuelense
1986 Puntarenas Alajuelense
1987 Herediano Cartaginés
1988 Saprissa Herediano
1989 Saprissa Alajuelense
1990 Vacated
1990-91 Alajuelense Saprissa
1991-92 Alajuelense Saprissa
1992-93 Herediano Cartaginés
1993-94 Saprissa Alajuelense
1994-95 Saprissa Alajuelense
1995-96 Alajuelense Cartaginés
1996-97 Alajuelense Saprissa
1997-98 Saprissa Alajuelense
1998-99 Saprissa Alajuelense
1999–2000 Alajuelense Saprissa
2000-01 Alajuelense Herediano
2001-02 Alajuelense Santos de Guápiles
2002-03 Alajuelense Saprissa
2003-04 Saprissa Herediano
2004–05 Alajuelense Pérez Zeledón
2005–06 Saprissa Puntarenas
2006–07 Saprissa Alajuelense
2007 Apertura Saprissa Herediano
2008 Clausura Saprissa Alajuelense
2008 Apertura Saprissa Alajuelense
2009 Clausura Liberia Mía Herediano
2009 Apertura Brujas Puntarenas
2010 Clausura Saprissa San Carlos
2010 Apertura Alajuelense Herediano
2011 Clausura Alajuelense San Carlos
2011 Apertura Alajuelense Herediano
2012 Clausura Herediano Santos de Guápiles
2012 Apertura Alajuelense Herediano
2013 Clausura Herediano Cartagines
2013 Apertura Alajuelense Herediano
2014 Clausura Saprissa Alajuelense
2014 Apertura Saprissa Herediano

Champion titles by club (1921–2014)[edit]

Club Championships Runner-Up
Deportivo Saprissa 31 15
LD Alajuelense 29 21
CS Herediano 23 18
CS La Libertad 6 7
CS Cartaginés 3 10
Orión F.C. 2 6
Puntarenas F.C. 1 2
Uruguay de Coronado 1 1
Universidad de Costa Rica 1 0
Asociación Deportiva Carmelita 1 0
Brujas FC 1 0
Liberia Mía 1 0
Sociedad Gimnástica Española 0 7
Alajuela Junior 0 2
Santos de Guápiles 0 2
Barrio México 0 1
Limón FC 0 1
Municipal Pérez Zeledón 0 1

Short championships (opening and closure) titles by club (2007–2013)[edit]


  1. ^ Tor-Kristian Karlsen. "World Cup 2014: five things you didn’t know about Costa Rica". the Guardian. Retrieved 19 December 2014. 

External links[edit]