Peruvian Primera División
|Number of teams||16|
|Level on pyramid||1|
|Relegation to||Segunda División|
Copa del Inca
Melgar (2nd title) |
|Most championships||Universitario (26 titles)|
|TV partners||CMD, GolTV, TVPerú|
The Peruvian Primera División (Spanish pronunciation: [pɾiˈmeɾa ðiβiˈsjon]; English: First Division) is the top professional division of Peruvian football. It is known today as Torneo Descentralizado de Fútbol Profesional (locally: [torˈneo desentɾaliˈsaðo ðe ˈfutβol pɾofesjoˈnal]; English: Professional Decentralized Football Tournament). It has been referred to as Descentralizado since 1966, when the first teams residing outside the Lima and Callao provinces were invited to compete in the first recognized national championship.
Its sponsored name is Copa Movistar [ˈkopa ˈmoβistar] (English: Movistar Cup) because of its main sponsor, the local cable television provider Movistar. 16 teams participate in the division. The league operates a system of promotion and relegation system at the end of the season with the Segunda División and the Copa Perú. Seasons run from February to December with teams playing 44 games each. The league is organized by the Sports Association of Professional Football.
The Liga Peruana de Fútbol (Peruvian Football League) was founded in 1912 and organized the Primera División and the Segunda División. The seasons played between 1912 and 1921 included clubs based in Lima and considered unofficial by the FPF. In 1926, the league was continued by the newly formed Peruvian Football Federation. The first division was played at an amateur level from its foundation but turned professional in 1951. In 1966, the first true national league was founded and stands today. As of 2010, the league title has been won by over 19 clubs but Universitario, Alianza Lima, and Sporting Cristal share a total of 62 titles of the 94 contested. Universitario and Alianza Lima alone account for half of the titles won. The current champions are Universitario, winning their 26th championship.
Football was first introduced in Peru in the 19th century by the British families residing in Lima. During this era, football was practiced by British residents, British sailors which stopped at the port in Callao, or Peruvians of the upper class which had learned to play the sport during their visits to the United Kingdom. The first recorded football match in Lima was played on 7 August 1892 between British residents and a few Peruvians at the club ground Santa Sofía belonging to the Lima Cricket and Lawn Tennis club. During the following years, more football matches were to be played within the upper class. With the practice of football slowly expanding in Lima's elite class, clubs began to adopt the practice of football. Some of the first sports clubs such as Lima Cricket & Lawn Tennis and Regatas Lima club dedicated their sporting activities to cricket and tennis, and aquatic sports respectively. Subsequently, more sports clubs were founded such as the Lawn Tennis club, Unión Cricket, and Unión Ciclista Lima. Unión Cricket was the first club to adopt football into their sporting activities leading the other sports clubs to do the same.
The educational institutions of the time were encouraging the formation of football clubs. Many students were starting several clubs and beginning to compete in small inter-scholar championships during the early 20th century. The first football club in Peru was Association Foot Ball Club, founded on 20 May 1897 by a group of students from different schools. Several other schools and students started their own football clubs. A particular club founded on 9 June 1902 by cricket enthusiasts from the Instituto Chalaco was Atlético Chalaco. They would also partake in the practice of football and become a representative team of Callao. Conversely, some educational institutions, like Universidad San Marcos did not have a single club representing the university against the other clubs of the time. Instead, the faculties within the university formed their own teams and competed against each other. Their championships started as early as 1899. A couple of decades later one of the faculty teams would separate from the university to form their own independent football club, known today as Universitario. Clubs were being formed outside of the sphere of educational institutions. One of these clubs was Sport Alianza—today Alianza Lima—which was founded by Italians and Chinese of the working class of Lima in 1901. However, records of their activities in football are available around 1912.
Liga Peruana de Football
Small championships between the many clubs at the time spawned the idea of a central championship to unite all the clubs. In 1912, club Sporting Miraflores invited several other clubs in Lima and Callao to participate in the formation of a football league. Several clubs accepted the offer and led to the creation of the Liga Peruana de Football (Peruvian Football League). The first championship in 1912 had its clubs divided into two divisions; Primera División and Segunda División. The Primera División composed of Lima Cricket, Association, Miraflores, Sporting Miraflores, Jorge Chávez, Escuela Militar de Chorrillos, Sport Progreso, Sport Inca and Sport Vitarte while the Segunda División composed Sport Lima, Carlos Tenaud No. 1, Carlos Tenaud No. 2, Atlético Grau No. 1, Unión Miraflores, Libertad Barranco, Peruano y Sport Magdalena. None of the teams from Callao accepted to play in the newly found league. Lima Cricket was the first champion of the Liga Peruana de Football while Association finished second.
The first edition was a relative success despite some minor setbacks. For instance, Escuela Militar de Chorrillos withdrew from the tournament in the middle of the season after only have earned 1 point. The second edition of the Liga Peruana had Jorge Chávez reach the top. The following year Lima Cricket would tally a second title. José Gálvez—who refuesed to participate in 1912—won consecutive championships in 1915 and 1916. In 1917 Juan Bielovucic championed the Liga. Sport Alianza would earn its first titles in 1918 and 1919. Sport Inca and Sport Progreso won the 1920 and 1921 seasons respectively. The league ran uninterrupted for 10 seasons until the Liga Peruana de Football temporarily disbanded due to disagreements. Between 1922 and 1925 no championships were played.
The Peruvian Football Federation was founded in 1922 and restarted the Peruvian football league in 1926 with the addition of teams from Callao. Unfortunately, the two championships in 1926 and 1927 suffered drawback as teams withdrew from the league mid-season. Of the 11 competing teams, Sport Progreso was crowned champion. Because many clubs withdrew from the tournament, Sport Progeso only played 6 games. The following season, Alianza Lima conquered its third title; they had already won two back-to-back titles in 1918 and 1919. This season featured 8 teams. As in 1926, the league did not finish properly and Alianza Lima won after winning its 3 matches. In 1928, the federation increased the number of teams to 19 and separated them into 2 groups. 5 teams advanced to second stage where the winner was league champion. The first Clásico took place in this season. In the second stage Alianza Lima faced the newly invited Federación Universitaria. The match was a 1–0 win for Federación Universitaria and began the biggest rivalry in the history of Peruvian football. At the end of the second stage, Federación Universitaria and Alianza Lima were tied for first place which led to two extra matches between them to declare the 1928 champion. The first match was a 1–1 draw and the second was a 2–0 win for Alianza Lima.
Following a second-place finish in their first division debut, Federación Universitaria would go on to win their first title in 1929. In 1930, the federation experimented with a new format. They separated the teams in 3 groups of 4 teams. The winner of each group advanced to the championship group to define the season champion. The three finalists were Atlético Chalaco, Alianza Lima, and Federación Universitaria. Atlético Chalaco would go on to win Callao's first title. Alianza Lima would go on to win the next three seasons, and came close to conquer a fourth had it not been for Universitario de Deportes–who had broken away from Universidad San Marcos–when they defeated Alianza Lima in a playoff season final for the 1934 title. Alianza Lima still claims to be the champion, and today there is an ongoing effort by its supporters to get the title recognized to Alianza Lima, according to their own recent investigations and the official resolutions that were published on the newspapers of the time. However, the Peruvian Football Federation and the Sports Association of Professional Football, both recognize the title of this year belong to Universitario. Furthermore, in 2012 the FIFA published an article in which Universitario appears holding the 1934 championship. In 1935, the title would go back to Callao after Sport Boys–founded in 1927 and debuted in 1933–defeated the 4 teams it was competing against. In 1936, no championship was contested due to the participation of Peru in the Summer Olympics in Berlin. The championship returned in 1937 to be won by Sport Boys. Interestingly, the Peru national team that competed in Berlin was made up of mostly footballers who played in Sport Boys. One of the few exceptions was Teodoro Fernández who played for Universitario and scored 6 goals in 2 games. Municipal, another club that would become a traditional team in Peruvian football, won its first championship in 1938 and a second in 1940 whilst Universitario a tallied four titles by winning in 1939 and 1941. Prior to 1939, teams played all other teams once in the course of the season. For the 1939, 1940, and 1941 seasons, teams played all others twice instead—a double round-robin tournament.
In 1941 the Asociación No Amateur (Non-Amateur Association) took the stand as the league's organizer and renamed the league Campeonato de Selección y Competencia. In 1942, Sport Boys won a third championship, finishing one point ahead of Deportivo Municipal. In this season, a single round-robin tournament was performed but the double round-robin returned next season. Deportivo Municipal lifted their third league trophy in 1943, and began to consolidate their place in Peruvian football. In 1944, a new champion was crowned by the name of Sucre. Universitario returned to the top after winning consecutive title between 1945 and 1946. In 1947 Atlético Chalaco won its last top flight division title. 1948 saw Alianza Lima taste glory again after trophyless seasons since their conquests between 1931 and 1933. 1949 and 1950—won by Universitario and Deportivo Municipal respectively—were the last two championships played before football would become a professional sport in Peru. Between 1946 and 1949, a triple round-robin tournament was employed until in 1950 the double round-robin system made its return. Mid-way through the 20th century, most of the clubs which had founded the Liga Peruana de Football had disappeared from the top flight and five teams had become the dominant forces in Peru; Alianza Lima, Universitario de Deportes, Deportivo Municipal, Sport Boys and Atletico Chalaco.
Professional league and Decentralizado
In 1951 the top flight of Peruvian football earned professional status and the organization of the league was handed over to the ACF or Asociación Central de Fútbol (Central Football Association). Sport Boys won the first professional championship. In next 4 years, Alianza Lima rose to conquer 3 titles in 1952, 1954 and 1955. In addition, one-time champion Sucre won a second championship in 1953. The professional era saw the rise of a new team that would rival the five dominant clubs of the amateur era. During the course of Peruvian football, Rimac-based Sporting Tabaco was a regular contender. However, in December 1955, the brewery Backus and Johnston founded Sporting Cristal to represent them in the top flight. In their debut in professional football, Sporting Cristal won their first championship in 1956. The following season, a relatively unknown club by the name of Centro Iqueño won the championship. In addition, the 1957 season employed a new tournament format. After the double round-robin stage, the 10 teams were split into 2 groups for a further 4 matches. The top 5 would play for the season title and the bottom 5 for preventing relegation. This format would be used until 1959, between 1964 and 1965 (a similar format would be employed in 1969 and 1970). Sport Boys won a fifth title in 1958 while Universitario won an eighth in 1959.
The 1960 season had a new attractive feature to Peruvian football; the champion would qualify to the newly created Copa de Campeones—today Copa Libertadores. Universitario de Deportes was the first Peruvian club to compete in the South American continental tournament after winning the 1960 season. In 1962 the ACF ended its run and the ADFP took its place as the current organizer of the league. In 1965, the runner-up would join the champion in the Copa Libertadores as CONMEBOL expanded the continental tournament. Up until 1965, only clubs based in Lima or Callao competed. Therefore, in 1966 the Asociación decided to expand the league outside of Lima and Callao leading the championship to be renamed the Campeonato Descentralizado (Descentralized Championship). Grau of Piura, Melgar of Arequipa, Octavio Espinoza of Ica, and Alfonso Ugarte (Ch) of Trujillo were the first four Peruvian clubs from the country interior to be invited to play in the top flight of Peruvian football, expanding it to 14 teams. The twist in this first Descentralizado was that only the best placed club outside of Lima and Callao would remain in the first division; the other three would be relegated along with 1 Lima/Callao-based team. Miguel Grau—finished sixth—remained in the first division while Universitario was crowned first Descentralizado champion. With the new national championship, the Copa Perú was created to promote clubs outside of the capital hub along with the Segunda División which promoted clubs from Lima and Callao. The first Copa Perú was played in 1967—prior to the start of the 1967 Descentralizado—returning Alfonso Ugarte de Chiclín and Octavio Espinoza to the top flight in addition to newcomer Juan Aurich of Chiclayo. Universitario would go on to win the second edition of the Torneo Descentralizado. However, in this season, only one club from the country interior was relegated instead of three.
In the Torneo Descentralizado's third edition, improvements were made by the teams outside of the capital hub, also known as provincianos to denote the clubs originate from the provinces of Peru. Notably Juan Aurich of Chiclayo tied with Sporting Cristal at the end of the season for first place. The championship was to be defined in a single playoff match in the Estadio Nacional. Sporting Cristal won the playoff 2–1 but Juan Aurich, as runner-up, qualified for the Copa Libertadores, being the first provinciano to do so. In 1969, the tournament suffered a minor change in the format. The tournament was played with 14 teams, as had been since 1966, however after the first leg of the round robin matchups, the table was split into two parts, with the top 6 fighting for the national title and the bottom 8 avoiding relegation. Universitario won their third Descentralizado title totalizing thirteen Primera División titles.
In 1970, the national championship would modify the previous season's format. After the clubs played each other in a double round-robin tournament, the clubs would be separated into two groups of 7 each, then playing an additional double round-robin tournament to determine the champion. Sporting Cristal finished first obtaining their fourth league title, tying Deportivo Municipal's record. For the 1971 season, the championship was expanded to 16 teams. Universitario won the season title reaching fourteen Primera División titles, tying arch-rivals Alianza Lima in first division titles. Universitario's participation in the following season's Copa Libertadores would lead to an appearance in the continental finals against Independiente of Argentina, defeating Alianza Lima, Universidad de Chile and Unión San Felipe in the first group stage as well as defending champion Nacional and three-time champion Peñarol in the second group stage. In the first leg of the finals, they would draw in Lima 0–0 and lose 2–1 in Avellaneda. As in the 1972 Copa Libertadores, Universitario would finish second in the Descentralizado of 1972 to Sporting Cristal, tying Sport Boys 5 title record.
Starting in 1984, the regional leagues would be employed which would be a complex system which featured up to 40 teams from all over the country.
In 1997 the tournament format was modified again, this time employing a similar system being used in Argentina at the time. The general idea of the system was to divide the season into two tournaments called the Apertura and Clausura tournaments. At the end of the season the tournament winners faced in a season final for the championship title. The 1997 season did not have a final after Alianza Lima won both tournaments automatically winning the 1997 title ending an 18-season title drought. At the end of the 2008 season this format was abolished due to the lack of championship playoffs in 2007 and 2008. The 2009 season employed a new liguilla format including a regular season between 16 teams which would qualify to two groups depending on their placement at the end of the regular season. The winners of each group would dispute a two-legged final at the end of the season to determine the national champion.
As of 2010, Universitario, Alianza Lima and Sporting Cristal have won 25, 22 and 15 official league titles respectively. They are regarded as the Big Three of Peru. However, other teams have risen to new heights. In particular, a team from Cusco, Cienciano, has been the only Peruvian team to win international tournaments (Copa Sudamericana 2003 and Recopa Sudamericana 2004), though it has yet to win the domestic league title. Other notable teams include Melgar, Juan Aurich and Unión Huaral, which are the only non-capital teams to have won a national championship.
Competition format and sponsorship
The 2014 season will be played by 16 teams. The season runs from June to December and will be played in two stages. The first stage is the Apertura tournament where each teams plays 15 home-and-away fixtures. The second stage is the Clausura tournament where each teams plays another 15 home-and-away fixtures for a total of 30 matches. The national championship will be decided between the teams that won the Apertura and Clausura tournaments as long as they finish within the first eight teams on the Aggregated table. The fixtures will be played on the weekends on Saturdays and Sundays and some fixtures will be played on Wednesdays. Teams receive three points for a win and one point for a draw. No points are awarded for a loss. Teams are ranked by total points, then goal difference, and then goals scored. A tie in points for relegation will result in a play-off at a neutral ground chosen by the ADFP. Two teams will be relegated and the champions of the second division and Copa Perú will take their place. With regard to foreign players, Peruvians teams are limited to four players without Peruvian citizenship per game.
A system of promotion and relegation exists between the Primera División and the Segunda División. The two lowest placed teams in Primera División are relegated to the Segunda División, and the top team from the Segunda División and Copa Perú promoted to Primera.
Seven teams will participate in international competitions while they play the national championship. These international club fixtures take place during the week on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. During the first half of the year, three teams will participate in the 2014 Copa Libertadores. Universitario and Real Garcilaso will start in the second stage and Sporting Cristal will start in the first stage. During the second half of the year, four teams will participate in the 2014 Copa Sudamericana. All four teams will start on the first stage of the tournament.
South American qualification
South America has two international competitions played every year. For 2014, Peru will have seven berths, three in the Copa Libertadores and four in the Copa Sudamericana. The Apertura and Clausura champions will qualify directly to the second stage of the Copa Libertadores. The third berth will be given to the 2014 Torneo del Inca champion. This team will start in the first stage of the Copa Libertadores. The Torneo del Inca runner-up and the best placed teams not yet qualified to an international tournament on the aggregate table will qualify to the Copa Sudamericana.
The Peruvian First Division is sponsored by Movistar TV (formerly known as Cable Mágico), hence the name Copa Movistar. They have had exclusive broadcasting rights since 2000. GolTV has acquired the rights of a few teams, at least one game per matchday is broadcast through the over-the-air station TVPerú.
- Alianza Lima - Universitario (National derby)
- Alianza Lima - Sporting Cristal
- Sporting Cristal - Universitario
- Municipal - Universitario (Modern derby)
- Cienciano - Melgar (Southern derby)
Currently, 16 clubs participate in the Torneo Descentralizado, a repeat of the 2013 season. Of these 16 clubs, only Universitario and Alianza Lima are owners of their home stadiums. The remaining 14 clubs are dependent upon the Instituto Peruano del Deporte for their local matches. 3 clubs operate as Sociedades Anónimas, the equivalent of a public limited company in the United Kingdom; these clubs are Universidad San Martín, Universidad César Vallejo and Sporting Cristal. The remaining 13 clubs operate as civil non-profit associations or asociaciónes civiles sin fines de lucro in Spanish. 4 of these clubs are from Lima and the remaining clubs make up the 12 teams from the country interior. Prior to the current 16-club Primera División, 14 teams competed in 2008 and 12 competed between 2006 and 2007. In 1989 and 1990, the Primera División played with a record 44 teams.
Universitario and Alianza Lima have a clear advantage of titles won over the other clubs in Peru. Since 1912, they have won a combined total of 48 Primera División championships of the 97 seasons contested, 25 and 22 respectively. Sporting Cristal trails behind with 16 professional era titles since their debut in 1956 and further behind is the traditional Sport Boys having conquered 6 league titles. Newcomer Universidad de San Martín de Porres has begun to challenge the dominance of the Big Three with back-to-back titles in 2007 and 2008 and a third in 2010. In addition, Melgar, Juan Aurich, and Unión Huaral are the only clubs outside the metropolitan area of Lima to have won a national championship. Other noteworthy clubs to have won championships include 4-time winner Municipal.
Universitario is the club with the longest spell in the Primera División, playing since 1928 when they debuted as Federación Universitaria and changing their name to Universitario de Deportes a few years later. They are followed by archrivals Alianza Lima who competed in the first edition of the Primera División but were relegated in 1938 and returning a year later for an uninterrupted spell since 1940. Melgar is the team with the longest run in the Primera División outside of Lima, competing since 1971.
The oldest clubs currently participating in the Primera División are Alianza Lima and Cienciano which were founded at the beginning of the turn of the century in 1901. The newest clubs active in the Primera División include Inti Gas, Real Garcilaso and Sport Huancayo. The current Juan Aurich participating in the Descentralizado is not the same club that competed in previous seasons. Inti Gas was previously known under several different names but the entity first played in the top flight as Inti Gas with their promotion after finishing second in the 2008 Segunda División.
|Alianza Atlético||Sullana||Miguel Grau (Piura)||25,000|
|Alianza Lima||Lima||Alejandro Villanueva||35,000|
|Ayacucho||Ayacucho||Ciudad de Cumaná||15,000|
|Comerciantes Unidos||Cutervo||Juan Maldonado Gamarra||8,000|
|Juan Aurich||Chiclayo||Elías Aguirre||24,500|
|Melgar||Arequipa||Virgen de Chapi||40,217|
|Municipal||Lima||Iván Elías Moreno||10,000|
|Sport Huancayo||Huancayo||Estadio Huancayo||20,000|
|Sporting Cristal||Lima||Alberto Gallardo||18,000|
|Unión Comercio||Nueva Cajamarca||IPD de Moyobamba||5,000|
|Universidad San Martín||Lima||Alberto Gallardo||18,000|
|Universidad Técnica de Cajamarca||Cajamarca||Héroes de San Ramón||18,000|
List of champions
Titles by club
- Football in Peru
- Peruvian Football Federation
- List of football clubs in Peru
- Copa Federación
- Copa del Inca
- Torneo de Promoción y Reserva
- Peruvian football league system
- Álvarez Escalona, Gerardo Tomas. "El fútbol en Lima" [Football in Lima]. La difusión del fútbol en Lima (in Spanish). Universidad Nacional Mayor San Marcos. Retrieved 6 June 2009.
- Álvarez Escalona, Gerardo Tomas. "El fútbol en Lima" [Football in Lima]. La difusión del fútbol en Lima (in Spanish). Universidad Nacional Mayor San Marcos. Retrieved 6 June 2009.
- Sportive Association of Professional Football (Perú), Memorial Book of Gold 1912-2012, ADFP, Azagraphic Perú SAC, Lima, 2012, p. 21.
- "Campeones del Futbol Peruano Primera Division". FPF. Retrieved 27 August 2009.
- "La Asociación". ADFP. Retrieved 27 August 2009.
Los campeonatos organizados por la Federación Peruana de Fútbol, en plena era amateur, tuvieron vigencia hasta 1940, en que se crea la ANA (Asociación No Amateur) y cuya existencia alcanzó 10 años.
- Behr, Raúl. "Méritos y rachas: los mejores y peores" [Merits and streaks: the best and worst] (in Spanish). DeChalaca. Retrieved 27 August 2009.
Unión Huaral y FBC Melgar son los dos únicos equipos del interior que se han logrado consagrar campeones nacionales.
- "2010" (in Spanish). ADFP. Retrieved 26 April 2010.
Antes de cada partido, los Clubes presentan al árbitro una planilla de 18 jugadores, en la cual se pueden incluir hasta cuatro (4) jugadores extranjeros
- Castro, Roberto; Behr, Raúl. "Descentralizado X-Files" (in Spanish). DeChalaca. Retrieved 15 June 2009.
- Lades, Gunther. "Peru". website. fussballtempel.net. Archived from the original on 25 February 2008. Retrieved February 2, 2008.