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|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
The Liga de Fútbol de Primera División, commonly known as Liga FPD, and Campeonato Banco Popular for sponsorship reasons, 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), 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.
The league was founded in 1921, with Herediano crowned as the first champions. 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.
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
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
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.
- Costa Rican Classic: Deportivo Saprissa vs. Alajuelense.
- "Clasico del Buen Futbol": Deportivo Saprissa vs Club Sport Herediano
- Provincial Classic: Club Sport Herediano vs. Alajuelense, Club Sport Herediano vs. Club Sport Cartagines
Teams and stadia
The league currently consists of the following 12 clubs.
|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
||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|
||1925, 1926, 1929, 1934, 1942, 1946|
||1923, 1936, 1940|
|5||Luis Diego Arnáez||1987–2005||579|
- Molina Salas, José Pablo. "Legacy Irazú es el balón oficial presentado por Voit para la Liga FPD". www.unafut.com (in Spanish). Retrieved 18 May 2017.
- Name of the league for the 2016–17 season UNAFUT.com
- "¿Quiénes Somos?". www.unafut.com (in Spanish). Retrieved 18 May 2017.
- Ley, Robert (5 April 2017). "THE STRONGEST NATIONAL LEAGUE IN THE WORLD 2016 : SPAIN SINCE 2010 ! | IFFHS". IFFHS.com. International Federation of Football History & Statistics. Retrieved 18 May 2017.
- "Primera División". www.unafut.com (in Spanish). Retrieved 18 May 2017.
- (Spanish) UNAFUT - Primera División de Costa Rica
- (Spanish) Federación Costarricense de Fútbol (Football Federation of Costa Rica)
- (English) Costa Rica - List of Champions and Runners Up, RSSSF.com