Categoría Primera A
|Number of teams||20|
|Level on pyramid||1|
|Relegation to||Categoría Primera B|
|Domestic cup(s)||Copa Colombia
|International cup(s)||Copa Libertadores
|Current champions||Atlético Nacional (15th title)
|Most championships||Atlético Nacional
|TV partners||Win Sports (9 games by round)
RCN Colombia (1 game by round)
RCN Nuestra Tele
The Categoría Primera A (Spanish pronunciation: [kateɣoˈɾi.a pɾiˈmeɾa ˈa]), commonly referred to as Liga Águila due to sponsorship by brewery company Bavaria (manufacturer of Águila beer), is a Colombian professional league for association football clubs. It is the country's premier football tournament and sits at the top of the Colombian football league system. The league was ranked 11th by the IFFHS in its list "The Strongest National League in The World 2015", being the third best in South America.
A total of twenty clubs compete in the league's regular season. División Mayor del Fútbol Profesional Colombiano, better known as Dimayor, operates the league system of promotion and relegation for both Categoría Primera A and Categoría Primera B leagues. Since its founding in 1948, fourteen teams have been crowned as the Colombian football champions. The most successful club is Atlético Nacional with 15 titles.
During the league stage, which lasts for twenty matches, each team plays against every other team once. The league table follows a normal European league table, one point for ties and three points for a win. The top eight teams advance to the playoffs.
The playoffs have been organized in two different ways over the course of the short tournaments. They were first organized by dividing the eight teams into two groups where they would play home and away games; then, the two group winners would play the final. In later years, the playoffs are organized in pairs and play direct elimination in home and away games until only two teams reach the finals.
The finals involve two games. The team with the highest overall points achieved during the league stage gets to play the second game in their home stadium; if the aggregate points are the same, the home game is determined by the goal difference. The team with the highest aggregate score after both home and away games wins and is awarded the championship. If the games end up in a tie, there is no additional time and it proceeds directly to a penalty shoot-out. The away goals rule is not used.
Before 1948 there was no professional football league in Colombia. The first clubs were formed in Barranquilla and Bogotá: Barranquilla FC, Polo Club, Escuela Militar and Bartolinos, although the game took a while to develop in popularity. The 1918 Campeonato Nacional was the first tournament played between Colombian clubs, followed by the Copa Centenario Batalla de Boyacá. Independiente Medellín, founded on 15 April 1913, is the oldest club that remains as a professional club. The first tournament was organised by Colombian Football Federation and DIMAYOR in 1948. In the tournament 10 teams signed up (each had to pay a fee of 1,000 pesos): one of Barranquilla, two of Bogotá, two of Cali, two of Manizales, two of Medellín and two of Pereira. 252 players were registered as follows: 182 Colombians, 13 Argentines, 8 Peruvians, 5 Uruguayans, 2 Chileans, 2 Ecuadorians, 1 Dominican and 1 Spanish.
From 1949 to 1954 the DIMAYOR, the organiser of the league, broke away from FIFA after a dispute with Adefútbol, the existing amateur football authority in Colombia, in a period known as El Dorado. 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. During the early 1950s the league was dominated by Millonarios FC as they won consecutive championship with recognised players such as Alfredo di Stéfano.
In 1968 the league followed the pattern common in South America by splitting into two separate competitions per season, the Apertura (February to June) and the Finalización (July to December). During the 1980s saw the emergence of América de Cali as they won 5 consecutive championships and so far are the only ones who have done it. In 1991 a second division was added to the first with a third, now defunct. The Copa Colombia appeared in 1950 although this knockout competition was only contested from time to time until 2008 when it became an annual tournament. Since 2002 the Apertura and Finalización tournaments became separate with each having their own champion, which meant two champions per year. Since that change Atlético Nacional of Medellín have dominated the league, in the 2007 season they would become the first and only club to win both the Apertura and Finalización tournaments, they would repeat this in the 2013 season as well.
Teams for 2016 season
Seasons by club
This is the complete list of the clubs that have taken part in at least one Categoría Primera A season, founded in 1948, until 2016 season. Teams that currently play are indicated in bold.
Champions by seasons
The only tournament that was not awarded to a champion occurred on 1989, after the assassination of referee Álvaro Ortega on October 1 in Medellín. All games, post-season games and international representation for the following year were cancelled.
Source for champions and runners-up by season: RSSSF
The trophy that is given to the champion of the league is the same one since 1948, the winners are given replica for their trophy rooms. Meanwhile, the original one used in 1948 Campeonato Profesional is in the DIMAYOR headquarters and is engraved with all the names of the clubs who have won it. Another trophy is given as well by the sponsor of league, the design is changed once the current sponsorship of the tournament is over.
List of Champions and Runners-Up
|Club||Winners||Runners-up||Winning years||Runners-up years|
|Atlético Nacional||15||10||1954, 1973, 1976, 1981, 1991, 1994, 1999, 2005–I, 2007–I, 2007–II, 2011–I, 2013–I, 2013–II, 2014–I, 2015–II||1955, 1965, 1971, 1974, 1988, 1990, 1992, 2002–I, 2004–I, 2004–II|
|Millonarios||14||9||1949, 1951, 1952, 1953, 1959, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1972, 1978, 1987, 1988, 2012–II||1950, 1956, 1958, 1967, 1973, 1975, 1984, 1994, 1995–96|
|América||13||7||1979, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1990, 1992, 1996–97, 2000, 2001, 2002–I, 2008–II||1960, 1969, 1987, 1991, 1995, 1999, 2008–I|
|Deportivo Cali||9||13||1965, 1967, 1969, 1970, 1974, 1995–96, 1998, 2005–II, 2015–I||1949, 1962, 1968, 1972, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1980, 1985, 1986, 2003–II, 2006–I, 2013–II|
|Santa Fe||8||4||1948, 1958, 1960, 1966, 1971, 1975, 2012–I, 2014–II||1963, 1979, 2005–I, 2013–I|
|Junior||7||8||1977, 1980, 1993, 1995, 2004–II, 2010–I, 2011–II||1948, 1970, 1983, 2000, 2003–I, 2009–I, 2014–I, 2015–II|
|Independiente Medellín||5||9||1955, 1957, 2002–II, 2004–I, 2009–II||1959, 1961, 1966, 1993, 2001, 2008–II, 2012–II, 2014–II, 2015–I|
|Once Caldas||4||2||1950, 2003–I, 2009–I, 2010–II||1998, 2011–II|
|Deportes Tolima||1||5||2003–II||1957, 1981, 1982, 2006–II, 2010–II|
|Deportivo Pasto||1||2||2006–I||2002–II, 2012–I|
|Deportes Quindío||1||2||1956||1953, 1954|
|La Equidad||—||3||—||2007–II, 2010–I, 2011–I|
|Atlético Huila||—||2||—||2007–I, 2009–II|
|Boca Juniors||—||2||—||1951, 1952|
- "THE STRONGEST NATIONAL LEAGUE OF THE WORLD". IFFHS. IFFHS. Retrieved 8 January 2016.
- http://www.rsssf.com/tablesc/colfound.html. Missing or empty
- Ruíz Bonilla, Guillermo (2008). La gran historia del Fútbol Profesional Colombiano. Ediciones Dayscript. pp. 12–14; 19. ISBN 978-958-987-1300.
- Ruíz Bonilla, Guillermo (2008). La gran historia del Fútbol Profesional Colombiano. Ediciones Dayscript. p. 51. ISBN 978-958-987-1300.
- El Tiempo - Colombia entra en la élite del fútbol mundial con 'la época de El Dorado' (Spanish)
- Acosta, Andrés (2013-01-10). "Colombia - List of Cup Winners". Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation. Andrés Acosta and RSSSF. Retrieved 2013-11-15.
- Acosta, Andrés; Ballesteros, Frank (15 January 2010). "Colombia - All-Time Table First Division". RSSSF.com.
- Ruiz Bonilla, Guillermo (October 2008). La gran historia del Fútbol Profesional Colombiano [The Grand History of Colombian Professional Football] (in Spanish). Ediciones Dayscript. p. 223. ISBN 978-958-98713-0-0.
- The 1989 on RSSSF
- Arteaga, José; Ballesteros, Frank (March 6, 2008). "Colombian League Top Scorers". website. RSSSF. Retrieved November 27, 2010.
- Juan Pablo Andres and Frank Ballesteros, 22 May 2014. "Colombia - List of Champions and Runners-Up". RSSSF. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
- Caracol Radio, ed. (14 July 2012). "Estos son los trofeos que reciben los campeones" (in Spanish).