Cypriot First Division
|Number of teams||14|
|Level on pyramid||1|
|Relegation to||Cypriot Second Division|
|Domestic cup(s)||Cypriot Cup
Cypriot Super Cup
|International cup(s)||UEFA Champions League
UEFA Europa League
|Current champions||APOEL (24th title)
|2015–16 Cypriot First Division|
The Cypriot First Division championship (Greek: Πρωτάθλημα Α' Κατηγορίας) is the top tier football league competition in Cyprus, run by the Cyprus Football Association. Since February 2016, it is sponsored by Cyta and thus officially known as Cyta Championship.
- 1 History
- 2 Format
- 3 2015–16 Clubs
- 4 League name history
- 5 Champions
- 6 Performances
- 7 Participations per club
- 8 All-time Cypriot First Division table (1934–35 until 2014–15)
- 9 Final places (1934–35 until 2014–15)
- 10 See also
- 11 References
- 12 External links
Football was introduced to Cyprus early in the 20th century by the British. Initially played in the island's schools, it proved hugely popular and a number of clubs were duly formed.
Since 1911, when Anorthosis Famagusta FC was founded, many clubs were established and in 1932 the Cypriot Championship began annually at first unofficially. Every season, the championship was organized by a different football club which caused some conflicts between some of the teams.
As football became more established, the clubs were united in agreeing that an official body was needed to regulate the sport. And in September 1934, the Cyprus Football Association (CFA) was formed and the Cypriot Championship and Cup began to take place annually. The first Champions of Cyprus were Trast AC in 1935 but the club folded three years later. The 1930s were dominated by APOEL, who won five championship in a row until 1940. Like other Championships in the World, the Cypriot Championship was interrupted, due to World War II from 1941 until 1945.
World War II was followed by the Greek Civil War, which caused a lot of fanaticism between Greeks. Since the majority of the island are Greek Cypriots, it had a lot of influence in their society too, including sport. In 1948, some clubs were involved in politics and criticized the left-wing as responsible for the War. Several footballers from those clubs criticized their club but that followed the expulsion of those players from their teams. Those players then went on to help establish new clubs with their own Association and their own football competitions. Until 1953 there were two separate football Championships in Cyprus and two different Associations. However, in 1953, the two Associations unified Cypriot football, and the teams which were established in 1948 under the separate association, were allowed to become members of the CFA. Only Omonia was accepted into the First Division. And due to the addition of more clubs that season, relegation and promotion began in Cypriot football.
The Cypriot Championship unification, lasted for only two seasons. In 1955, Çetinkaya Türk S.K., who had been the only Turkish Cypriot team playing in the Cypriot First Division since 1934–35, withdrew from the Championship and with other Turkish Cypriot teams, established the Cyprus Turkish Football Federation, with its own competitions. The reason behind this was political, as the Turkish Cypriot leadership were supporting the partition of the island. However, this Federation was never recognized and no team of that federation could play in international competitions.
The independence of Cyprus in 1960, was followed by full membership for the Cyprus Football Association to UEFA in 1962. From 1963, the champions of the Cyprus, could compete in the European Champions Cup and the Cup winners in the European Cup Winners Cup. Since 1971, the runners up in the Greek Cypriot First Division can compete in the UEFA Cup. From 1967 until 1974, the Greek Cypriot Champions were promoted to the Greek First National Division. Greek Cypriot teams were relegated every season from the Alpha Ethniki, apart from 1974, when APOEL managed to remain in the Greek Championship which meant that Cyprus would have two teams in Alpha Ethniki. However, due to the Turkish invasion of Cyprus that year, APOEL and AC Omonoia (the champion of Cyprus for 1974) withdrew from the League.
Omonia dominated the Greek Cypriot Championship in the 1970s and 1980s, winning 12 championship in 13 seasons. In 1976, Omonia player Sotiris Kaiafas was the top scorer not only in Cyprus but also in Europe with 39 goals winning the European Golden Boot. Anorthosis Famagusta dominated Cyprus football between 1995 and 2000, losing the championship during those years only once in 1996.
The last 15 years (2000–present), APOEL had been the most successful club by winning more than one championship every two years, counting eight championship titles in total.
At present, 14 clubs compete in the league. Each club plays the others twice, once at their home stadium and once at that of their opponents, which makes a total of 26 games for each club. The last two teams (of the first round) are relegated directly to the Second Division. Since 2007–08 season the league has a second round play-off system. In the second round the first 12 (out of 14) teams are separated into two groups of six teams according to their position at the end of the first round. The points from the first round are carried to the second round and the teams play each other twice (10 more matches). At the end of the second round, the bottom team of the relegation group is relegated to the Second Division.
Teams receive three points for a win and one point for a draw. No points are awarded for a loss. The rule for three points for a win has been applied since 1992, before then two points were awarded for a win. Teams are ranked by total points, the matches between the teams, then goal difference and then goals scored. If teams are still equal they are deemed to occupy the same position. If the champions, teams for relegation or qualification for other competitions thus cannot be decided, a series of play-off match(es) are played between the affected teams, although this has yet to occur. Since the establishment of the league and until 2005–06, goal difference had the biggest ranking after total points. At the end of each season, the club with the most points is crowned as champions. The three lowest placed teams are relegated into the Cypriot Second Division and the top three teams from the 2nd Division promoted in their place.
The league champions are entitled to entrance in the UEFA Champions League in the third qualifying round. The winner of the Cypriot Cup automatically enters the UEFA Europa League play-off round. The runner-up and third placed team in the league enters the UEFA Europa League on the second qualifying round. If the cup winners are also league champions, then the losing cup finalists are granted a UEFA Europa League berth. If the cup winners qualify for Europe by their league position, then the fourth-placed team in the league qualifies for the UEFA Europa League second qualifying round.
The First Division has had 14 teams from 1989 until today, apart from the 1994–95 season when the league was reduced to 13 teams and the 2014–15 season when the league was reduced to 12 teams. For some years there has been discussion about reducing the number of teams in the first division. This is partly driven by some of the mid-table clubs not being involved for much of the season in either the Championship or qualification for Europe, or relegation. In the 2014–15 season, the Cypriot First Division teams were reduced from 14 to 12, but the next season (2015–16) they were increased again to 14.
From 2007–08 until 2012–13 season, in the second round the first 12 (out of 14) teams were separated into three groups of four teams according to their position at the end of the first round. For the 2013–14 season, in the second round the first 12 (out of 14) teams were separated into two groups of six teams according to their position at the end of the first round. The last two teams of the first round were relegated directly to the B1 Division and the bottom two teams of the relegation group also. The points from the first round were carried to the second round and the teams played each other twice.
In the 2014–15 season, only 12 clubs competed in the league. Each club played the others twice, once at their home stadium and once at that of their opponents, which made a total of 22 games for each club. In the second round the 12 teams were separated into two groups of six teams according to their position at the end of the first round. The points from the first round were carried to the second round and the teams played each other twice (10 more matches). At the end of the second round, the bottom team of the relegation group was relegated to the Second Division.
|Aris Limassol||Limassol||2D, 3rd|
|Ayia Napa||Ayia Napa||10th|
|Enosis Neon Paralimni||Paralimni||2D, 1st|
|Pafos FC||Paphos||2D, 2nd|
League name history
- 1934–2007 : Pancypriot Championship
- 2007–2012 : Marfin Laiki League
- 2012 : Laiki Bank League
- 2012–2013 : First Division Championship
- 2013–2014 : Glafcos Clerides Championship
- 2014–2016 : First Division Championship
- 2016–2019 : Cyta Championship
Performance by club
||1936, 1937, 1938, 1939, 1940, 1947, 1948, 1949, 1952, 1965, 1973, 1980, 1986, 1990, 1992, 1996, 2002, 2004, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015|
||1961, 1966, 1972, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1987, 1989, 1993, 2001, 2003, 2010|
||1950, 1957, 1958, 1960, 1962, 1963, 1995, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2005, 2008|
||1941, 1953, 1955, 1956, 1968, 2012|
||1945, 1946, 1970|
||1967, 1969, 1971|
||1991, 1994, 2006|
|Enosis Neon Paralimni||
Performance by city
Olympiakos Nicosia (3)
Trast AC (1)
Çetinkaya Türk (1)
||AEL Limassol (6)
Apollon Limassol (3)
||EPA Larnaca (3)
Pezoporikos Larnaca (2)
Participations per club
So far, 39 different teams participated in the Cypriot First Division. Neither team has participated in all leagues (77 in total, including the period 2015–16) for various reasons (participation in the Greek league, relegation at the Second Division, teams dissolution and merge or leaving Cyprus Football Association).
Fifteen of the 39 teams are no longer in the Cypriot leagues. Among them is the only Turkish-Cypriot team that participated in the first division, Çetinkaya which left the Cyprus Football Association, but also the Armenian AYMA and Orfeas Nicosia that participate now in the amateur tournaments. Pezoporikos and EPA merged creating AEK Larnaca, Evagoras and APOP merged creating AEP Paphos, AEK Kouklia and AEP Paphos merged creating Pafos FC. Keravnos disbanded its football section, APOP Kinyras, Atromitos Yeroskipou, Onisilos Sotira and Alki Larnaca dissolved due to financial problems and the first champion of Cyprus Trast AC ceased to exist.
- 1963–64 Cypriot First Division, where the championship was abandoned is not included in the table.
League or status at 2015–16:
|2015–16 Cypriot First Division|
|2015–16 Cypriot Second Division|
|2015–16 Cypriot Third Division|
|No longer affiliated with CFA|
|Clubs that no longer exist|
All-time Cypriot First Division table (1934–35 until 2014–15)
The All-time Cypriot First Division table is a ranking of all Cypriot football clubs based on their performance in the Cypriot First Division. The points are the sum of the points of all seasons, despite the point system of the season. The 1963–64 Cypriot First Division season is not included because the championship was abandoned.
|8||Enosis Neon Paralimni||45||1436||1227||422||354||451||1637||1650||-13|
|17||Digenis Akritas Morphou||15||339||396||94||110||192||397||690||-293|
Final places (1934–35 until 2014–15)
|↓Team / Place→||1st||2nd||3rd||4th||5th||6th||7th||8th||9th||10th||11th||12th||13th||14th||15th||16th||Total|
|Enosis Neon Paralimni||0||1||2||3||3||5||6||12||5||4||2||1||1||0||0||0||45|
|Digenis Akritas Morphou||0||1||0||0||1||0||1||1||2||1||1||1||3||0||2||1||15|
- List of foreign football players in Cypriot First Division
- List of top goalscorers in Cypriot First Division by season
- "Πρωτάθλημα Cyta" μέχρι το 2019 (συμφωνία ΚΟΠ – Cyta) ["Cyta Championship until 2019] (in Greek). cfa.com.cy. 3 February 2016. Retrieved 3 February 2016.
- HISTORY OF CFA. CFA. 31 March 2015. Retrieved 31 March 2015.