El Dorado (football)

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El Dorado is the name given to an era (1949-54) of the Colombian football league during which the league broke away from FIFA. Although the Colombian national team and all domestic clubs were banned from international competition during this period, it is nonetheless considered the golden age of Colombian football.[1][1]


The Colombia football league turned professional in 1948 and awarded its first championship that year to Independiente Santa Fe had been champion. Internal disputes later that year caused DIMAYOR to leave the Colombian Football Federation. In response, FIFA suspended the league and the national team from all the international tournaments.

Meanwhile, the Argentine Football Association was dealing with a strike by its players. Several of the most important Argentinian players were looking to leave the country and, as the Colombian league was not affiliated to FIFA, Colombian clubs that wished to sign them were not required to pay transfer fees. Alfonso Senior, the chairman of Millonarios FC, decided to take advantage of the situation by signing several Argentine stars.[2]

The first of the Millonarios signings was River Plate star Adolfo Pedernera. The signing was announced on June 8, 1949, and by the time Pedernera arrived at Bogota's Aeropuerto de Techo there were 5,000 fans there to greet him. The club made 5 times more money on the day of the player's presentation than they earned on a regular league. Other Colombian clubs began scrambling to follow suit by signing stars from all over South America and Europe:[3]

In 1950, the DIMAYOR agreed with FIFA to end El Dorado through the Pacto de Lima.[6] The key requirement that the foreign players would return to their countries in 1954. However, while it lasted, Colombian football ascended to new heights.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b El Tiempo - Colombia entra en la élite del fútbol mundial con 'la época de El Dorado' (in Spanish) Archived 2012-06-29 at Archive.today
  2. ^ Terra - Millonarios FC y El Dorado
  3. ^ Colombia Aprende - El Dorado Archived 2014-01-06 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ Ascencio, Jose Orlando (5 November 1999). "A la tierra del olvido" [Land of oblivion] (in Spanish). El Tiempo.
  5. ^ Revista RxN - Historia del Independiente Medellín
  6. ^ arcotriunfal.com - Así fue el famoso Pacto de Lima Archived 2013-10-12 at the Wayback Machine