Liga FPD

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Liga FPD
Liga FPD Logo.svg
Country Costa Rica
Confederation CONCACAF
Founded June 13, 1921
Number of teams 12
Level on pyramid 1
Relegation to Liga de Ascenso
International cup(s) Champions League
Current champions Herediano (26th title)
(Torneo Verano 2017)
Most championships Saprissa (33)
TV partners Extra TV
Website Official website
2016–17 season

The Liga de Fútbol de Primera División, commonly known as Liga FPD,[1] and Campeonato Banco Popular for sponsorship reasons,[2] is the top professional association football division in Costa Rica. It is administrated by the Unión de Clubes de Fútbol de la Primera División (UNAFUT),[3] and played by 12 teams, with the last-placed team relegated to the Liga de Ascenso.

The International Federation of Football History & Statistics (IFFHS) ranks the Liga FPD as the 51st strongest league in the world, and the 2nd strongest within CONCACAF, behind Mexico's Liga MX.[4]

The league was founded in 1921,[3] with Herediano crowned as the first champions.[5] Saprissa is the most successful club having won the championship a record 33 times. Saprissa, joined with Alajuelense (29 titles) and Herediano (25 titles) have dominated the league.

Competition format[edit]

The Liga FPD features a format in which two separate tournaments are held over the course one particular season. The tournaments are named Torneo de Invierno and Torneo de Verano, based on the Costa Rican seasons; as a result, the Invierno tournament is played during the rainy season between August and December, while the Verano tournament is played during the dry season between January and May.

A separate tournament is played on stages. The first stage follows the usual double round-robin format. During the course of a tournament, each club plays every other club twice, once at home and once away, for a total of 22 matchdays. 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 stage qualifying to the second stage. The second stage consists of a quadrangular in which the best four teams qualified will face each other twice again, adding 6 additional matchdays. If the top team of the first stage also wins the quadrangular, the club will be crowned as champions; otherwise, a double-legged final will be played between the winners of the first stage and the winners of the quadrangular to determine the champion.

Promotion and relegation[edit]

A system of promotion and relegation exists between the Primera División and the Segunda División. In spite of having two champions during a regular season, the Liga FPD only relegates one team per season based on the aggregate performance in both Invierno and Verano tournaments. The last-placed team in the aggregate table is relegated to the Liga de Ascenso.

Qualifying for CONCACAF competitions[edit]

The top teams in the Liga FPD qualify to the CONCACAF Champions League. Starting in the 2017–18 season, the CONCACAF Champions League will be separated into two stages. The first stage is CONCACAF League, which consists of sixteen teams from Central America and the Caribbean, in which the winner qualifies to the second stage, the Champions League, joining other fifteen teams. Because of this format, the qualification criteria in the Liga FPD are:

  • If one team wins both the Invierno and Verano tournaments
    • The double champion will qualify directly to the second stage of the Champions League
    • The two non-champion teams with the best aggregate record at the end of the season will qualify to the CONCACAF League
  • If two different teams are crowned champions over the season
    • The champion with the best aggregate record will qualify directly to the second stage of the Champions League
    • The champion with the worst aggregate record will qualify to the CONCACAF League
    • The non-champion team with the best aggregate record will qualify to the CONCACAF League


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 (both Youth Development Leagues from Primera Division clubs).

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 fiercely fought over the years. A derby is played between two teams that falls in the same town or city.

Teams and stadia[edit]

The league currently consists of the following 12 clubs.

Team Location Stadium Capacity
Alajuelense Alajuela, Alajuela Alejandro Morera Soto 18,000
Cartaginés Cartago, Cartago "Fello" Meza 13,500
Herediano Heredia, Heredia Eladio Rosabal Cordero 8,500
Guadalupe Guadalupe, San José "Coyella" Fonseca 4,500
Liberia Liberia, Guanacaste Edgardo Baltodano 5,979
Limón Limón, Limón Estadio Juan Gobán 3,000
Pérez Zeledón San Isidro de El General, San José Estadio Municipal 6,000
Santos de Guápiles Guápiles, Limón Ebal Rodríguez 3,000
Saprissa San Juan de Tibás, San José Ricardo Saprissa 23,112
UCR Sabanilla, San José Estadio Ecológico 1,800


Performance by club[edit]

Teams Winners Runners-up Winning seasons
1952, 1953, 1957, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1982, 1988, 1989, 1993–94, 1994–95, 1997–98, 1998–99, 2003–04, 2005–06, 2006–07, 2007 Apertura, 2008 Clausura, 2008 Apertura, 2010 Verano, 2014 Verano, 2014 Invierno, 2015 Invierno, 2016 Invierno
1928, 1939, 1941, 1945, 1949, 1950, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1966, 1970, 1971, 1980, 1983, 1984, 1990–91, 1991–92, 1995–96, 1996–97, 1999–00, 2000–01, 2001–02, 2002–03, 2004–05, 2010 Invierno, 2011 Verano, 2011 Invierno, 2012 Invierno, 2013 Invierno
1921, 1922, 1924, 1927, 1930, 1931, 1932, 1933, 1935, 1937, 1947, 1948, 1951, 1955, 1961 (ASOFUTBOL), 1978, 1979, 1981, 1985, 1987, 1992–93, 2012 Verano, 2013 Verano, 2015 Verano, 2016 Verano, 2017 Verano
La Libertad
1925, 1926, 1929, 1934, 1942, 1946
1923, 1936, 1940
1938, 1944
2009 Invierno
Liberia Mía
2009 Clausura

Player records[edit]

Top scorers[edit]

Rank Nat Name Goals
1 Costa Rica Víctor Núñez 244
2 Costa Rica Errol Daniels 196
3 Costa Rica Roy Sáenz 168
4 Costa Rica Leonel Hernández 164
5 Costa Rica Guillermo Guardia 149
6 Costa Rica Evaristo Coronado 148
7 Costa Rica Alejandro Alpízar 147
8 Costa Rica Erick Scott 144
9 Costa Rica Juan Ulloa 140
10 Costa Rica Vicente Wanchope 133

Most appearances[edit]

Rank Nat Name Years Apps
1 Costa Rica Marvin Obando 1979–2000 685
2 Costa Rica Julio Fuller 1975–1994 684
3 Costa Rica Enrique Díaz 1977–1996 676
4 Costa Rica Danny Fonseca 1999– 614
5 Costa Rica Luis Diego Arnáez 1987–2005 579
6 Costa Rica Mauricio Montero 1980–1990 556
7 Costa Rica Wílmer López 1992–2009 550
8 Costa Rica Óscar Ramírez 1983–1999 546
9 Costa Rica Evaristo Coronado 1981–1995 536
10 Costa Rica Luis Quirós 1986–2000 531


  1. ^ Molina Salas, José Pablo. "Legacy Irazú es el balón oficial presentado por Voit para la Liga FPD". (in Spanish). Retrieved 18 May 2017. 
  2. ^ Name of the league for the 2016–17 season
  3. ^ a b "¿Quiénes Somos?". (in Spanish). Retrieved 18 May 2017. 
  4. ^ Ley, Robert (5 April 2017). "THE STRONGEST NATIONAL LEAGUE IN THE WORLD 2016 : SPAIN SINCE 2010 ! | IFFHS". International Federation of Football History & Statistics. Retrieved 18 May 2017. 
  5. ^ "Primera División". (in Spanish). Retrieved 18 May 2017. 

External links[edit]