Cypriot First Division
|Number of teams||12|
|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 Conference League
|Current champions||Apollon (4th title) |
|Top goalscorer|| Sotiris Kaiafas (1967–1984)|
The Cypriot First Division (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. The league is contested by 12 teams and runs from August to May, with the two lowest-placed teams relegated to the Cypriot Second Division and replaced by the top two teams in that division. At the seasons 2018–19 and 2019–20, the league will be contested by 12 teams and will also be run from August to May, with the two lowest-placed teams relegated to the Cypriot Second Division and replaced by the top two teams in that division.
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 Trust 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.
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 Cypriots were opposed to the anticolonial struggle of EOKA and union with Greece (Enosis). 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 Omonia (the champion of Cyprus for 1974) withdrew from the League.
As of the 2017/18 season, 12 clubs compete in the league. Each club plays the other sides twice, for a total of 22 games for each club. The bottom two teams (of the first round) are relegated directly to the Second Division. In the second round the teams ranked 1-6 play off for the title and European places, and teams finishing 7-12 play each other to avoid an additional relegation place. Teams receive three points for a win and one point for a draw. The league champion and runner-up qualify for the UEFA Champions League. The third placed team and fourth placed team in the league enters the UEFA Europa Conference League. If the cup winners finish in the regular European places, the fifth placed team of the league are granted a UEFA Europa Conference League berth, whilst the third placed team enter the UEFA Europa League (if the cup winner is in the top 2).
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.
The points system of the Cypriot First Division changed three times during the years:
- From 1934–35 until 1959–60 season, teams were awarded two points for a win, one point for a draw and zero points for a defeat.
- From 1960–61 until 1969–70 season, teams were awarded three points for a win, two points for a draw and one point for a defeat.
- From 1970–71 until 1990–91 season, teams were awarded two points for a win, one point for a draw and zero points for a defeat.
- Since 1991–92 season (until present time), teams are awarded three points for a win, one point for a draw and zero points for a defeat.
|Aris Limassol||Limassol||2nd (Div.2)|
Performance by club
Appearances in the top division
The below table indicates the total number of seasons each club has participated in the Cypriot First Division, up to and including the 2021/22 season.
43 teams have played at least one season in First Division.
Teams in bold are taking part of the 2021-22 Cypriot First Division.
- The 1963–64 Cypriot First Division, where the championship was abandoned, is not included in the table.
- Çetinkaya total includes 12 when competing as Lefkosa Turk Spor Kulubu
- APEP Pitsilia total includes one as APEP Limassol
All-time Cypriot First Division table (1934–35 until 2017–18)
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.
|3||Anorthosis Famagusta FC||72||2910||1777||896||447||434||3218||2044||1175|
|6||Nea Salamis Famagusta FC||56||1790||1467||490||381||596||2026||2224||-198|
|8||Enosis Neon Paralimni FC||46||1459||1253||426||365||462||1663||1699||-36|
|9||Pezoporikos Larnaca FC||49||1432||1062||444||318||300||1719||1326||393|
|10||Aris Limassol FC||53||1287||1311||329||324||658||1668||2648||-980|
|11||EPA Larnaca FC||50||1222||1052||362||277||413||1570||1641||-71|
|12||Alki Larnaca FC||43||1202||1128||309||284||535||1400||1986||-586|
|13||Ethnikos Achna FC||31||1078||895||296||219||380||1201||1370||-169|
|14||AEK Larnaca FC||23||1039||675||295||154||226||1100||876||224|
|15||Doxa Katokopias FC||14||419||434||108||95||231||503||848||-345|
|16||APOP Paphos FC||19||406||502||105||126||271||501||1007||-506|
|18||Ermis Aradippou FC||12||353||374||94||75||205||402||767||-365|
|19||Digenis Akritas Morphou FC||15||339||396||94||110||192||397||690||-293|
|20||AEP Paphos FC||10||315||278||81||72||125||376||478||-102|
|22||Çetinkaya Türk S.K.||18||189||209||77||35||97||393||503||-110|
|24||APOP Kinyras FC||5||161||148||44||29||75||201||275||-74|
|26||Anagennisi Deryneia FC||7||123||186||31||35||120||163||409||-247|
|27||Armenian Young Men's Association||11||121||176||23||27||126||256||593||-337|
|29||Keravnos Strovolou FC||4||84||108||28||28||52||111||167||-56|
|31||Enosis Neon Trust||4||68||44||30||8||6||129||54||75|
|32||Ayia Napa FC||4||64||110||12||28||70||90||218||-128|
|33||Ethnikos Assia FC||3||60||78||17||9||52||102||184||-82|
|37||Othellos Athienou FC||1||25||32||5||10||17||26||42||-16|
|38||AEK Kouklia FC||1||23||36||6||5||25||34||94||-60|
|42||Enosis Neon THOI Lakatamia||1||7||26||1||4||21||15||75||-60|
- "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.
- Xaris Xarilaou (31 August 2017). "Cyprus 2016/17". Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation. Retrieved 16 January 2018.
- Γαβριηλίδης & Παπαμωυσέως 2001, p. 71 harvnb error: no target: CITEREFΓαβριηλίδηςΠαπαμωυσέως2001 (help)
- Γαβριηλίδης & Παπαμωυσέως 2001, p. 88 harvnb error: no target: CITEREFΓαβριηλίδηςΠαπαμωυσέως2001 (help)
- Γαβριηλίδης & Παπαμωυσέως 2001, p. 130 harvnb error: no target: CITEREFΓαβριηλίδηςΠαπαμωυσέως2001 (help)
- "Cyprus - List of Champions". Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation. 23 June 2016. Retrieved 24 June 2016.
- "Πρωταθλήτριες Ομάδες". CFA. Archived from the original on 8 August 2017. Retrieved 24 June 2016.
- "Cyprus - Participations per club at Cypriot First Division". Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation. 22 June 2017. Retrieved 17 January 2018.
- "Cyprus - All-Time Table". Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation. 22 June 2016. Retrieved 8 August 2017.
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