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The Primera División del Fútbol Profesional Chileno ( ) is the top level of Chileanmarker football, and main component of the Chilean football league system. It is organized by the Asociación Nacional de Fútbol Profesional ( ) and is currently ranked 14th in the IFFHS Best Leagues of the World ranking. The current tournament is 2009 Clausura.


Resembling the Primera División Mexicana league system, the Chilean First Division is currently played by 18 teams, which play two single-round tournaments per season.

First, the Apertura tournament is played (usually held between January and June), and then is followed by the Clausura tournament (between July and December). For each Apertura and Clausura tournament, a single round-robin tournament, called the regular phase, is played first. Afterwards, a post-season play-off begins, where the best eight teams in each single-round tournament eliminate each other in the knockout tournament format in two-leg aggregate-score. In this way, there are two champions per season.

The Chilean League of Football has never been regular in terms of their tournament systems. Traditionally, the League had consisted in one annual, double round-robin tournament, with the addition of a Cup, but the number of contesting teams and League format has varied throughout the years, until the adoption of the Mexican system in 2002.

Relegation and promotion

Very much like the tournament format, the relegation/promotion (to Primera B) has changed throughout the years.

Currently, the three teams with the worst scores in the complete season (including Apertura and Clausura, but excluding the play-off stage), are relegated to Primera B, and replaced by the Champions and Runners-up of this Division, making the number of participating teams for the 2008 season equal to 20. There is also a Relegation Playoff Tournament, played in a home-and-away basis by the team who finishes 18° in the First Division, and the teams who finish 3° and 4° in the Primera B.

Qualification for International competitions

The champions of the Apertura and Clausura of each season are immediately qualified to Copa Libertadores for the next year. The third Chilean spot in that tournament is used by the team with the highest score in the Clausura regular phase (that is, excluding the play-offs).

For the Copa Sudamericana, the qualification system changes every year. For the 2007 season, a small tournament was played by the top four teams in the Apertura. The winners of that tournament (Colo-Colo and Audax Italiano) qualified for Copa Sudamericana 2007.


The dawn of football in Chile

Football arrived at Chile during the last decades of the nineteenth century. At first, football was played at some port cities, and with the highest popularity in Valparaisomarker, Coquimbomarker, Antofagastamarker, Iquiquemarker and Talcahuanomarker. Originally, football was not so popular in Santiagomarker, the capital of Chile, but soon the popularity was comparable to the aforementioned areas.

On June 19, 1895, the Football Association of Chile (FAC) was established in Valparaiso. It was the first organization trying to co-ordinate the existing clubs of the city to contest in ordinary competitions. Valparaíso F.C., Victoria Rangers, Mac Kay and Sutherland Athletic, Chilean F.C. joined, upon Santiago National Athletic, Santiago Rangers, Valparaíso Wanderers and National F.C. were united quickly.

On May 23, 1906, the Asociación de Fútbol de Santiago (AFS) was set up in Santiago to organize competition in the capital, whereas the FAC changed its name to the Spanish version Asociación de Fútbol de Chile, on September 14, 1912, to unite various regional associations. In the early twenties, there arose the Federación de Football de Chile as the competing organization of Asociación de Fútbol de Chile. The problem between the two bodies caused FIFA to remove Chile's membership in 1925. As a result, the two organizations merged on January 24, 1926, forming the present Federación de Fútbol de Chile (FFCh).


Football was played in different local associations in an amateur manner until the twentieth century, when football started to turn professional in Valparaíso and Santiago, where football competitions were consistently at the prominent level in Chile at that time. Chilean football truly professionalized in the 1930s. At that time, different teams paid salaries to their players, despite being illegal, and this phenomenon occurred even on international level. In 1933, eight big clubs at that time, namely, Unión Española, Bádminton, Colo-Colo, Audax Italiano, Green Cross, Morning Star, Magallanes and Santiago National, left the ASF over a dispute on salaries policy, and used the reduced percentage of their income which originally had to submit to the AFS to found the Liga Profesional de Football de Santiago (LPF) on May 31, 1933. The newly formed body was recognized by the Federación de Fútbol de Chile on June 2, 1933.

The first edition of professional competition was contested by the eight founding teams and was won by Magallanes after defeating Colo-Colo in a decisive match. In the following year, according to the disposition of Federación de Fútbol de Chile, Liga Profesional returned to integrate with the AFS. Like part of the negotiations for reunification, four teams from AFS, namely, Ferroviarios, Carlos Walker, Deportivo Alemán, and Santiago F.C., would join the 1934 professional competition. Moreover, it was also decided that the last six teams in the 1934 competition would be eliminated to form the new second division in 1935. The title of the 1934 edition was again clinched by Magallanes, which won 10 out of the 11 matches this year.

Club de Fútbol Universidad de Chile and Club Deportivo Universidad Católica entered to compete in 1938 and 1939, and obtained their first titles in 1940 and 1949, respectively.

The professional competition was confined to teams from Santiago at the first few years. Santiago Wanderers joined the league in 1937 and was the first club in the league coming from other regions. However, its participation in the league was just occasional and it did not contest in the league in the following years, until it rejoined the league with Everton de Viña del Mar, its classic rival, in 1944. Everton de Viña del Mar captured the title in 1950, becoming the first national champions not coming from the capital city. Not until 1953 did a third team from other areas, Rangers de Talca, was admitted to the league, after which had been crowned the runners-up of the second division in 1952.

Diverse formats

The lack of regularity of format has been one of the characteristics of the Chilean football league. Since the first edition, a variable number of teams had taken part in the competition under different formats, so no any single format had been adopted for a long time. One of the major problems in the early years was the small number of competing teams. With merely a few teams, it was difficult to schedule matches throughout the year. In order to tackle this problem, the Torneos de Apertura (Opening Tournament) format was derived. For every year, an Apertura tournament was played before the Campeonato Oficial (Official Competition), so that more matches could be played.

In the following years, the formats kept changing, as well as the number of contesting teams. Initially, there were only seven teams, then it increased to 18 between 1962 and 1980, and 16 between 1987 and 2003, although in 1984 26 teams competed, and in 2008 the competition reduced to 20 teams.

The modern format and controversy

Since 2002, the format of Primera División de México was adopted, with a short single round-robin and play-off to determine the winner, crowning two champions every year. (Apertura and Clausura tournament)

This format has been criticized by some of the teams and fans, who indicate that the champions was not always the best team of the league, since play-offs are considered a tournament on their own .

Nonetheless, the leader of the league indicated that the format has managed to arouse the emotion of the matches, especially in decisive rounds, and the attendance of the matches has been increasing in recent years.

Current teams

There are currently 18 teams playing the Primera División for the 2009 season
Name Home city Foundation Stadium Capacity
Audax Italiano Santiagomarker (La Floridamarker) November 30, 1910 Bicentenario de La Floridamarker 12,000
Cobreloa Calamamarker January 7, 1977 Fernando Cornejo De Calama 20,180
Cobresal El Salvadormarker May 5, 1979 El Cobremarker 20,752
Colo-Colo Santiagomarker (Maculmarker) April 19, 1925 Monumental David Arellanomarker 45,000
Curicó Unido Curicómarker February 26, 1973 La Granjamarker 6,000
Deportes La Serena La Serenamarker December 9, 1955 La Portadamarker 18,000
Everton Viña del Marmarker June 24, 1909 Sausalitomarker 23,000
Huachipato Talcahuanomarker June 7, 1947 CAPmarker 11,000
Municipal Iquique Iquiquemarker May 21, 1978 Tierra de Campeonesmarker 8,500
Ñublense Chillánmarker August 20, 1916 Bicentenario Nelson Oyarzúnmarker 12,000
O'Higgins Rancaguamarker April 7, 1955 El Tenientemarker 25,000
Palestino Santiagomarker (La Cisternamarker) August 20, 1920 Municipal de La Cisternamarker 12,000
Rangers Talcamarker November 2, 1902 Fiscal de Talcamarker 17,020
Santiago Morning Santiagomarker (La Pintanamarker) October 16, 1903 Municipal de La Pintanamarker 2,700
Unión Española Santiagomarker (Independenciamarker) May 18, 1897 Santa Lauramarker 28,500
Universidad Católica Santiagomarker (Las Condesmarker) April 21, 1937 San Carlos de Apoquindomarker 20,000
Universidad de Chile Santiagomarker (Ñuñoamarker) May 24, 1927 Nacionalmarker 66,660
Universidad de Concepción Concepciónmarker August 8, 1994 Municipal de Concepciónmarker 35,000


Season Champion Runner-up Topscorer(s)
1933 Magallanes Colo Colo Luis Carvallo (Colo-Colo (9)
1934 Magallanes Audax Italiano Carlos Giuduce (Audax Italiano) (19)
1935 Magallanes Audax Italiano Aurelio Domínguez (Colo-Colo) (12)Guillermo Ogaz (Magallanes) (12)
1936 Audax Italiano Magallanes Hernán Bolaños (Audax Italiano) (14)
1937 Colo-Colo Magallanes Hernán Bolaños (Audax Italiano) (16)
1938 Magallanes Audax Italiano Gustavo Pizarro (Badminton) (17)
1939 Colo-Colo Santiago Morning Alfonso Domínguez (Colo-Colo) (32)
1940 Universidad de Chile Audax Italiano Victor Alonso (Universidad de Chile) (20)Pedro Valenzuela (Magallanes) (20)
1941 Colo-Colo Santiago Morning José Profetta (Santiago National) (19)
1942 Santiago Morning Magallanes Domingo Romo (Santiago Morning) (16)
1943 Unión Española Colo-Colo Luis Machuca (Unión Española) (17)Victor Mancilla Universidad Católica (17)
1944 Colo Colo Audax Italiano Juan Alcantara (Audax Italiano) (19)Alfonso Domínguez (Colo-Colo) (19)
1945 Green Cross Unión Española Ubaldo Cruche (Universidad de Chile) (17)Hugo Giorgi (Audax Italiano) (17)

 Juan Zarate (Green Cross) (17)
1946 Audax Italiano Magallanes Ubaldo Cruche Universidad de Chile) (25)
1947 Colo-Colo Audax Italiano Apolonides Vera (Santiago National) (17)
1948 Audax Italiano Unión Española Juan Zarate (Audax Italiano) (22)
1949 Universidad Católica Santiago Wanderers Mario Lorca (Unión Española) (20)
1950 Everton Unión Española Félix Díaz (Green Cross (21)
1951 Unión Española Audax Italiano Rubén Aguilera (Santiago Morning) (21)Carlos Tello (Audax Italiano) (21)
1952 Everton Colo-Colo René Meléndez (Everton) (30)
1953 Colo-Colo Palestino Jorge Robledo (Colo-Colo) (26)
1954 Universidad Católica Colo-Colo Jorge Robledo (Colo-Colo) (25)
1955 Palestino Colo Colo Nicolas Moreno (Green Cross) (27)
1956 Colo-Colo Santiago Wanderers Guillermo Villarroel (O'Higgins) (19)
1957 Audax Italiano Universidad de Chile Gustavo Albella (Green Cross) (27)
1958 Santiago Wanderers Colo Colo Gustavo Albella (Green Cross) (23)Carlos Verdejo (Deportes La Serena) (23)
1959 Universidad de Chile Colo-Colo José Benito Rios (O'Higgins) (22)
1960 Colo-Colo Santiago Wanderers Juan Falcon (Palestino) (21)
1961 Universidad Católica Universidad de Chile Carlos Campos (Universidad de Chile (24)Honorino Landa (Unión Española) (24)
1962 Universidad de Chile Universidad Católica Carlos Campos (Universidad de Chile) (34)
1963 Colo-Colo Universidad de Chile Luis Hernán Álvarez (Colo-Colo) (37)
1964 Universidad de Chile Universidad Católica Daniel Escudero (Everton) (25)
1965 Universidad de Chile Universidad Católica Héctor Scandolli (Rangers) (25)
1966 Universidad Católica Colo-Colo Carlos Campos (Universidad de Chile (21)
 Felipe Bracamonte (Unión San Felipe) (21)
1967 Universidad de Chile Universidad Católica Eladio Zarate (Unión Española) (28)
1968 Santiago Wanderers Universidad Católica Carlos Reinoso (Audax Italiano) (21)
1969 Universidad de Chile Rangers Eladio Zarate (Unión Española) (22)
1970 Colo-Colo Unión Española Osvaldo Castro (Deportes Concepcion) (36)
1971 Unión San Felipe Universidad de Chile Eladio Zarate Universidad de Chile (25)
1972 Colo-Colo Unión Española Fernando Espinoza (Magallanes) (25)
1973 Unión Española Colo-Colo Guillermo Yavar (Unión Española) (21)
1974 Huachipato Palestino Julio Crisosto (Colo-Colo) (28)
1975 Unión Española Deportes Concepción Victor Pizarro (Santiago Morning) (27)
1976 Everton Unión Española Oscar Fabbiani (Palestino) (23)
1977 Unión Española Everton Oscar Fabbiani (Palestino) (34)
1978 Palestino Cobreloa Oscar Fabbiani (Palestino) (35)
1979 Colo-Colo Cobreloa Carlos Caszely (Colo-Colo) (20)
1980 Cobreloa Universidad de Chile Carlos Caszely (Colo-Colo) (26)
1981 Colo-Colo Cobreloa Victor Cabrera (San Luis) (20)Carlos Caszely (Colo-Colo) (20)

Luis Marcoleta (Magallanes) (20)
1982 Cobreloa Colo-Colo Jorge Luis Siviero (Cobreloa) (18)
1983 Colo-Colo Cobreloa Washington Oliveira (Cobreloa) (29)
1984 Universidad Católica Cobresal Victor Cabrera (Regional Atacama) (18)
1985 Cobreloa Everton Ivo Basay (Magallanes) (19)
1986 Colo-Colo Palestino Sergio Salgado (Cobresal) (18)
1987 Universidad Católica Colo-Colo Osvaldo Hurtado (Universidad Católica) (21)
1988 Cobreloa Cobresal Gustavo De Luca (Deportes La Serena) (18)
 Juan José Oré (Deportes Iquique) (18)
1989 Colo-Colo Universidad Católica Rubén Martínez (Cobresal) (25)
1990 Colo-Colo Universidad Católica Rubén Martínez (Colo-Colo) (22)
1991 Colo-Colo Coquimbo Unido Rubén Martínez (Colo-Colo) (23)
1992 Cobreloa Colo-Colo Aníbal González (Colo-Colo) (24)
1993 Colo-Colo Cobreloa Marco Antonio Figueroa (Cobreloa) (18)
1994 Universidad de Chile Universidad Católica Alberto Acosta (Universidad Católica) (33)
1995 Universidad de Chile Universidad Católica Gabriel Caballero (D. Antofagasta) (18)Aníbal González (Palestino) (18)
1996 Colo-Colo Universidad Católica Mario Véner (Santiago Wanderers) (30)
1997[A] Universidad Católica Colo-Colo David Bisconti (Universidad Católica) (15)
1997[C] Colo Colo Universidad Católica Richard Báez (Universidad de Chile (10)Rubén Vallejos (Puerto Montt) (10)
1998 Colo-Colo Universidad de Chile Pedro González (Universidad de Chile) (23)
1999 Universidad de Chile Universidad Católica Mario Núñez (O'Higgins) (34)
2000 Universidad de Chile Cobreloa Pedro González (Universidad de Chile) (26)
2001 Santiago Wanderers Universidad Católica Héctor Tapia (Colo-Colo) (24)
Season Apertura champion Runner-up Clausura champion Runner-up
2002 Universidad Católica Rangers Colo Colo Universidad Católica
2003 Cobreloa Colo Colo Cobreloa Colo Colo
2004 Universidad de Chile Cobreloa Cobreloa Unión Española
2005 Unión Española Coquimbo Unido Universidad Católica Universidad de Chile
2006 Colo-Colo Universidad de Chile Colo-Colo Audax Italiano
2007 Colo-Colo Universidad Católica Colo-Colo Universidad de Concepción
2008 Everton Colo-Colo Colo Colo Palestino
2009 Universidad de Chile Unión Española

Titles by team

Club # of Titles Years won
Colo-Colo 28 1937; 1939; 1941; 1944; 1947; 1953; 1956; 1960; 1963; 1970; 1972; 1979; 1981; 1983; 1986; 1989; 1990; 1991; 1993; 1996; 1997-C; 1998; 2002-C; 2006-A; 2006-C; 2007-A; 2007-C; 2008-C
Universidad de Chile 13 1940; 1959; 1962; 1964; 1965; 1967; 1969; 1994; 1995; 1999; 2000; 2004-A; 2009-A
Universidad Católica 9 1949; 1954; 1961; 1966; 1984; 1987; 1997-A; 2002-A; 2005-C
Cobreloa 8 1980; 1982; 1985; 1988; 1992; 2003-A; 2003-C; 2004-C
Unión Española 6 1943; 1951; 1973; 1975; 1977; 2005-A
Audax Italiano 4 1936; 1946; 1948; 1957
Magallanes 4 1933; 1934; 1935; 1938
Everton 4 1950; 1952; 1976; 2008-A
Santiago Wanderers 3 1958; 1968; 2001
Palestino 2 1955; 1978
Santiago Morning 1 1942
Huachipato 1 1974
Unión San Felipe 1 1971
Green Cross 1 1945


The following table lists the chilean football champions by region.
Region Titles Winning Clubs
Colo-Colo (28), U. de Chile (13), U. Católica (9), Unión Española (6), Magallanes (4), Audax Italiano (4),

Palestino (2), Santiago Morning (1), Green Cross (1)
Everton (4), Santiago Wanderers (3), Unión San Felipe (1)
Cobreloa (8)
Huachipato (1)


  1. IFFHS
  2. Chilean League 1934

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