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The Primera División Profesional ( ), simply known as the Primera División, is the top level of the Mexican football league system and is administered by the Mexican Football Federation. It was established in 1943 and as of 2009 has 18 clubs, divided into three groups competing for league titles. Each season the league holds two tournaments, the Apertura in the winter and the Clausura in the summer.


Amateur era

Prior to the Liga Mayor, there was no national football league in Mexicomarker, and football competitions were held within relatively small geographical regions. The winners of the Primera Fuerza, a local league consisting of teams near and around Mexican Federal District, was considered the national competition. There were other regional leagues such as the Liga Veracruzana, Liga Occidental and Liga del Bajío that also had notable clubs. Many club owners were not keen on the idea of establishing a professional league, despite paying players under the table. With the increasing demand of football, there was a sense of urgency to unite all the local amateur leagues in Mexico to progress as a football nation. The professional national league was finally established in 1943.
logo used in 1943

Professional era

When the F.M.F. announced the formation of the nation's first professional league, many clubs petitioned to join the newly formed league. The F.M.F. announced that ten clubs would form the Mayor League. The first members of the league were founded by six clubs of the Primera Fuerza of Mexico City, two clubs from the Liga Occidental and two members from the Liga Veracruzana.

Founding members

Primera Fuerza: América, Asturias, Atlante, Real España and CD Marte
Liga Occidental: Atlas and Guadalajara
Liga Veracruzana: Orizaba, Veracruz and Moctezuma


Throughout the late 1950s and early 1960s, many small clubs faced economic difficulties which were attributed to the lack of international competition by Mexican clubs and an unrewarding league format. As a result of the difficulties suffered by smaller teams, financially affluent Deportivo Guadalajara was able to capture 8 championships within a relatively short time span. Mexican clubs that placed high in the league standings could not afford to participate in prestigious international tournaments such as the Copa Libertadores as did many South American and European clubs.

The Mexican League Boom

The 1970 World Cup held in Mexico was the first World Cup televised on a grand scale. The season following the FIFA World Cup, the F.M.F. changed the league format and established a playoff phase to determine the national champion. This was done to regenerate interest and reward teams that placed fairly high in the standings.

Liguilla (The Playoffs)

The birth of liguilla (the playoffs) modernized the league despite the disagreements between the traditionalists and the modernists. Clubs that were near bankruptcy now were able to compete and generate profits. The playoffs have evolved since their inception. Originally the 18 teams are divided into 3 groups, with the top teams from each group qualifying for a playoff phase called Liguilla. This playoff phase starts with 8 teams and is played in the "tie" format in two-leg aggregate-score, similar to the quarterfinals and semifinals of the UEFA Champions League.

In 1996, the league decided to split the season into two championships. This measure was done to generate additional revenues to finance the F.M.F.'s lower divisions. The league holds two tournaments per year, originally called invierno (winter) and verano (summer), now changed to apertura (opening - running from August to December) and clausura (closing - running from January to May). The change was done to correspond with FIFA's world footballing calendar, which "opens" in July/August and "closes" in April/May of the next year. So throughout the footballing world, the action lasts about ten months. In Europe, where tournaments are played as one single championship throughout the year, there is only one champion per year. In the case of Mexico, Argentina and other countries in South America, a new champion is crowned about every five months, or two per year.

At the end of a season, after the apertura and clausura tournaments, one team is relegated to the next lower division, Liga de Ascenso, and one team from that division is promoted and takes the place left open by the relegated team. Currently, the relegated team is determined by computing the points-per-game-played ratio for each team, considering all the games played by the team during the last two seasons (four tournaments). The team with the lower ratio is relegated. For teams recently promoted, only the games played since their promotion are considered (two or four tournaments). The team promoted from Liga de Ascenso is the winner of a two-leg match between the champions of the apertura and clausura tournaments of that division. If a team becomes the champion in both tournaments, it is automatically promoted.

Current Teams

Primera División
Name Manager City Stadium First season infirst division First season ofcurrent spell intop division
América Jesús Ramírez Mexico, D.F.marker Aztecamarker 1943-1944 1943-1944
Atlante José Guadalupe Cruz Cancúnmarker, Quintana Roomarker Andrés Quintana Roomarker 1943-1944 1991-1992
Atlas None Guadalajaramarker, Jaliscomarker Jaliscomarker 1943-1944 1978-1979
Guadalajara José Luis Real Guadalajaramarker, Jaliscomarker Jaliscomarker 1943-1944 1943-1944
Cruz Azul Enrique Meza Enriquez Mexico, D.F.marker Azulmarker 1964-1965 1964-1965
Chiapas Luis Fernando Tena Tuxtlamarker, Chiapasmarker Víctor Manuel Reynamarker 2002-2003 2002-2003
Ciudad Juárez José Treviño Ciudad Juárezmarker, Chihuahuamarker Olimpico Benito Juárezmarker 2008-2009 2008-2009
Monterrey Víctor Manuel Vucetich Monterreymarker, Nuevo Leónmarker Tecnológicomarker 1945-1946 1960-1961
Monarcas Morelia Tomás Boy Moreliamarker, Michoacánmarker Morelosmarker 1957-1958 1981-1982
Pachuca Guillermo Rivarola Pachucamarker, Hidalgomarker Hidalgomarker 1967-1968 1998-1999
Puebla José Luis Sánchez Solá Pueblamarker, Pueblamarker Cuauhtémocmarker 1944-1945 2007-2008
Querétaro Carlos Reinoso Querétaromarker, Querétaromarker Corregidoramarker 1985-1986 2009-2010
Pumas U.N.A.M. Ricardo Ferretti Mexico, D.F.marker Olímpico Universitariomarker 1962-1963 1962-1963
San Luis Juan Antonio Luna San Luismarker, San Luis Potosímarker Alfonso Lastras Ramirezmarker 1971-1972 2005-2006
Santos Laguna Sergio Bueno Torreónmarker, Coahuilamarker Nuevo Coronamarker 1988-1989 1988-1989
Estudiantes Tecos Miguel Herrera Zapopanmarker, Jaliscomarker 3 de Marzomarker 1975-1976 1975-1976
Tigres U.A.N.L. Daniel Guzmán San Nicolásmarker, Nuevo Leónmarker Universitariomarker 1974-1975 1997-1998
Toluca Jose Manuel de la Torre Tolucamarker, Mexicomarker Nemesio Diezmarker 1953-1954 1953-1954

Kit and shirt sponsors

Team Kitmaker Shirt sponsor Second sponsor/s
América Nikemarker Grupo Bimbo Coca-Cola
Atlante Atletica Cancúnmarker Riviera Maya
Atlas Atletica Jalisco es México Coca-Cola/Corona/Aeroméxico
Guadalajara Reebok Grupo Bimbo Toyota
Cruz Azul Umbro Cemento Cruz Azul Telcel/Powerade
Chiapas Atletica Banco Azteca Farmacias del Ahorro
Indios Juárez Kappa S-Mart Grupo Yvasa
Monterrey Nikemarker Grupo Bimbo Carta Blanca
Morelia Atletica Roshfrans Elektra/Sol/Cinépolis
Pachuca Puma Gamesa Office Depot/Pepsi
Puebla Atletica Volkswagen IDN
Querétaro Pirma Kellogs Coca Cola
Pumas U.N.A.M. Puma Banamex Martí
San Luis Voit Takis Telcel
Santos Laguna Atletica Soriana Corona Grupo Peñoles
Estudiantes Tecos Somos Estudiantes Riviera Nayarit Guadalajara 2011
Tigres U.A.N.L. Adidas Cemexmarker Carta Blanca
Toluca Atletica Banamex Corona


The teams of the Primera, like those of Serie A in Italymarker have the right to sell their own broadcast rights. What this means in practice is that the league is effectively divided between teams broadcast on Televisa, TV Azteca In México and Telemundo & Univision In United States.

Additionally, SKY Latin America and Fox Sports LA hold exclusive broadcasting rights over certain matches, although the majority of the most important ones are shown on free-to-air television.

Most of the matches of the Televisa teams are shown primarily on Galavisión Saturday afternoons and evenings, The games of UNAM, Toluca and America are shown Sundays on Canal de las Estrellas. All of Television Azteca's matches are on Azteca 13 on Saturday or Sunday afternoons except U.A.G. that plays on Fridays and its matches are shown on Azteca 7.

The clubs are divided as follows, according to tv chain sponsor:

United States





TV Azteca:


All-Time Leading Scorers
Rank Player Goals
1st Cabinho 312 Goals
2nd Carlos Hermosillo 294 Goals
3th Jose Cardozo 249 Goals
4rd Jared Borgetti 247 Goals
5th Osvaldo Castro 214 Goals
6th Luis Roberto Alves "Zague" 209 Goals
7th Carlos Perucci 197 Goals
8th Adalberto Lopez 196 Goals
9th Sergio Lira 195 Goals
10th Ricardo Peláez 187 Goals
Teams in bold are currently participating in the Primera División.


Team Championships
Guadalajara 11
América 10
Toluca 9
Cruz Azul 8
Pumas U.N.A.M. 6
Pachuca 5
León 5
Atlante 3
Necaxa 3
Santos Laguna 3
Monterrey 2
Tigres U.A.N.L. 2
Puebla 2
Veracruz 2
Zacatepec 2
Atlas 1
Morelia 1
Tecos U.A.G. 1
Tampico 1
Oro 1
Marte (defunct) 1
España (defunct) 1
Asturias (defunct) 1
Queretaro 0
Indios 0


External links

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