|National First Division League Championship|
|XC Edition (2020-21)|
|Association||Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF)|
|Foundation||February 10, 1929|
|No. of editions||90|
|Organizer||Professional Football League (LFP)|
|Champion||Real Madrid CF (34 titles)|
|Runner-up||F. C. Barcelona|
|Third||Atlético de Madrid|
|Matches||380 (10 for 38 days)|
|Most laureate||Real Madrid CF (34 titles)|
|Classification a|| Champions League |
Europa Conference League
The Spanish First Division - known as LaLiga Santander for sponsorship reasons, [ 1 ] and officially as the National First Division League Championship - [ 2 ] is the highest male category in the Spanish league system and the main competition for country club level . It has been organized since 1984 by the Professional Football League (LFP) after succeeding the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF). It has been held since the 1928-29 season and was interrupted on two occasions: between 1936 and 1939, due to theSpanish Civil War , and in 2020, due to the COVID-19 Pandemic .
The First Division is, along with the Second Division , one of the only two categories with professional status in Spain, both under the protection of the LFP, while the rest of the divisions depend on the RFEF and their corresponding regional federations. The First Division is considered one of the five major European leagues together with the English Premier League , the Italian Serie A , the German Bundesliga and the French Ligue 1 , [ 3 ] occupying the first place in the UEFA coefficient . [ n. 1 ] [ 4 ]On the other hand, it is considered the best league in the world according to the official annual ranking of the International Federation of Football History and Statistics (IFFHS), [ 5 ] whose first place it held consecutively from 2010 to 2018. [ 6 ] It is, in turn, the second national championship with the most titles in official international competitions worldwide and the first in Europe, adding among its nine clubs with international honors (Real Madrid, Atlético de Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Seville , Real Zaragoza, Málaga, Villarreal and Celta de Vigo): Intercontinental (4), Club World Cup (7),Ibero-American Cups (1), European Cups / Champions Leagues (18), UEFA Cups / European Leagues (11), European Super Cups (15), European Cup Winners' Cup ( 7), Intertoto Cups (5), Fair Cups ( 6) and Latin Cups (4), for a total of 78 titles.
Throughout its history, only nine clubs have been First Division champions; The most awarded with 34 titles is Real Madrid , followed by FC Barcelona (26), Atlético de Madrid (10), Athletic Club (8), Valencia (6), Real Sociedad (2) and Betis , Sevilla and Deportivo de La Coruña with a single title. The record for goals in the same season is held by Real Madrid with 121, a figure reached in 2011-12 , while the record for points is 100, consecutively achieved by Real Madrid also in that 2011-12 campaignand for Barcelona the following 2012-13 . [ 7 ] [ 8 ] [ 9 ]
Background and early years
FOUNDATION RULES OF THE LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP
1. The Spanish Championship will be played by elimination in two games. The regional champions, the runners-up and the third-placed from Vizcaya, Catalonia, Guipúzcoa and Centro (there would be a total of 32 clubs) will access it.
2. The League Championship will be played in a double game all against all and a double round in two Divisions. The First will be made up of ten clubs : the six champions of Spain, the three runners-up and the winner of a tournament among the following ten teams: Sevilla, Eibar, Alavés, Betis, Celta, Deportivo, Racing de Santander, Valencia, Real Oviedo and Sporting de Gijón. The tournament will be by elimination rounds, with a pure draw, a single match and on a neutral field until a champion is proclaimed.3. The nine eliminated will form the Second Division with a tenth club that will be classified among all those who sign up with that intention.
—Extraordinary Assembly of the Spanish Federation. November 23, 1928. Madrid.
From the beginning of the 20th century , due to the growing popularity of soccer, the first regional championships began to emerge in Spain , such as the Macaya Cup in Catalonia in 1901 , and national ones, such as the Coronation Cup in 1902 . The success of this last tournament led to the creation the following year of the Spanish Championship (later known as the Copa del Rey) and various Regional Championships.Throughout the national territory. In this way, a system that lasted a quarter of a century was established, according to which regional champions qualified to play the national tournament. This is the reason why even today the Copa del Rey champions (and not the Liga champions) are called "champions of Spain". However, with the establishment of professionalism in Spanish football, it was considered appropriate to create a league championship similar to the one already existing in England , both for competitive reasons and for economic profitability. A first experience, in the 1927-28 season, it did not come to fruition due to the discrepancies between the regional federations and the clubs, divided between the so-called "maximalists" (those who had been national champions ) and the "minimalists" (those who had been only regional champions ). [ 10 ] Shortly after, nicknames were exchanged, understanding that the former wanted a minimum league (with few participants) and the latter, a maximum league (with the largest number of teams). Thus, what should be the first professional Spanish Foot-Ball League was split into two unfinished competitions: the Tournament of Champions and the Maximum League., without being able to resolve the quarrels until the following season.
After numerous meetings, an agreement was finally reached to establish the first regular tournament and it was divided into two categories: the National League Championship of the First Division and the Second Division . To determine which teams would be part of the first edition of the highest category, it was decided to invite the six champions ( Athletic Club , Arenas de Guecho , Real Madrid , Real Sociedad [as a successor to Ciclista FC ], FC Barcelona and the Real Union ) and three of the six "only runners - up" (the Athletic Club of Madrid , theSpanish and Europe ) that had had until then the so-called Championship of Spain . Two of the other three runners-up that the Spanish Championship had had at the time (the Madrid Spanish and Gimnástica Española ) had already disappeared and the third ( Spain from Barcelona ) was going through a critical situation that meant their absorption by Europe for just three more years. late. Thus, between champions and runners-up of the Spanish Championship , the participants of the new First Division added an odd number, which would have to be completed with one of the clubs that had beenregional champions without having reached the national final . The tenth team to complete the calendar was Real Santander Racing , which won in a previous qualifying tournament created for this purpose, and the other regional champions ( Sevilla , Iberia , Alavés , Betis , Celta , Deportivo , Valencia , Real Oviedo and Sporting de Gijón ) were relegated to being founders of the Second Division . [ 11 ]
The FC Barcelona was proclaimed winner of the competition after wrest first place in the Real Madrid FC on the final day of a championship dominated almost entirely by locals, and which were the first leaders of the competition. A promotion system was also established to determine which teams were promoted or demoted, remaining in force since then. The Real Santander RC won the permanence Sevilla FC , winner of the Second Division. Barcelona's José Pitus Prat , a member of Spanish, scored the first goal in history, and Alfonso Olaso fromAthletic Club de Madrid scored the first own goal. The top scorer in the initial championship was Paco Bienzobas , from Real Sociedad , from Gipuzkoa , with 17 goals in 18 games. This team was the least thrashed, conceding only 16 goals in 18 games. The success of the first season gave continuity to the competition. In the 1934-35 season the number of teams was expanded to twelve for the first time. The competition was suspended after the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War in 1936 and resumed at the end of it with the same teams that were present before the interruption. In that interval, only Betis in 1935 managed to unseat Athletic Club as champions(with three titles it was the first club to revalidate the title), Madrid FC (with two, consecutively) and FC Barcelona (with one). [ 12 ]
After the stoppage due to the armed conflict, sports competitions were resumed in the country, and so did the league championship. The Atletico and Valencia entered in the prize list of champions before the Athletic Club Bilbao would attain its fourth title and dominated the historical record. However, the Basques suffered the post-war period, like many other teams, and the following season registered the worst performance of a current champion: they finished in tenth position and only two points from the permanence tie. In the same way it affected other champions: Real Madrid CF and CF Barcelona were also on the verge of relegation; the Madrilenians avoided the permanence phase and the Catalans disputed it and won to confirm their permanence.
The Sevilla also joined the group of champions to the overcoming edition 1945-46 . Until then, seven different champions were registered in fifteen seasons, giving view of the equality of the championship. However, since then a clear dominance of Real Madrid began to be noticed, thanks mainly to the arrival at the club of foreign player Alfredo Di Stéfano . [ 13 ] [ 14 ] It was precisely the Madrid club who introduced the dorsal in Spanish football, circumstance adopted in England long ago, to the estrenarlos in early 1947-48 season in a game against the Atletico Madrid in theMetropolitan Stadium . [ 15 ] Since then, the rest of the teams have gradually adopted them.
Inclusion of foreign soccer players
The inclusion of foreign players was from its origins a controversial issue. In the first edition of the championship it was agreed that only foreign players who were professionals and who were playing for a minimum of two years in Spain could play the championship. Therefore, very few, no more than three or four, could play this first league. [ 16 ] They were settling little by little until, in 1940, football, like the rest of society, suffered what was called "Spanishization". The victory of the national side over the republicanbrought several changes in the life of the country. Football, of English origin and terminology, was affected by the Order of May 16, 1940, which called for the prohibition of writing signs, signs, advertisements, proclamations or the use of foreign generic words or in a language other than the Spanish. Once the federations and civil registries were informed, terms such as foot-ball , equipiers , off-side or goal were no longer used , while others such as football, soccer, club or defense, to name a few, were established. The names of the clubs, the most obvious reviews, were the most affected as they were foreign and especially Anglicized. [ 17 ]The political overtones of the regime in football gave some freedom to some clubs seeking greater international recognition over the years. Thus, in Galicia and the Basque Country, some historical denominations were recovered until finally in 1972 the liberalization of terms was allowed; many recovered their old name, although many others kept the current one. [ 17 ]
At the beginning of the 1950s, a refusal to join foreign players' clubs flourished, a circumstance allowed since it was approved by the Spanish Federation in 1947. [ 18 ]Although it is true that there were foreign players previously, it should be noted that it was prior to the professionalization of Spanish football and the establishment of the league championship. After him there were few incorporated, just 4% of the total number of players, and they were always in revised situations. However, after a ban by the National Sports Delegation, mobilizations began to reverse the situation. The regional federations, as representatives of the First Division clubs, again urged the importation of foreign players. Supported by the Royal Spanish Federation, it was believed that these characters were suitable for the growth and prestige of Spanish football. However, the idea had detractors such as Atlético de Bilbao , Sevilla, Osasuna , the Royal Society and the representatives of the Guipuzcoana Federation and the Navarra Federation , believing that it would have a negative impact on the national product and the quarries and would favor the European Cup , a competition still discussed by some clubs, but in the one that other international associations and UEFA did allow their clubs to hire foreign players for their dispute. [ 19 ]
Here are some of the positions of the clubs respect to re-incorporate foreign players are as follows: [ 19 ]
“FIF A eliminated the Organizing Committee of the European Cup and this tournament took on a terrifying importance afterwards. A foreign player imported by Real Madrid was loaned out in one year for twenty-odd charity matches. The most important thing is to remove from football that character of rabid regionalism that turns matches into battles. More sportsmanship and less partisanship ”.
“We are in favor of the importation of foreign players. But not only consecrated internationals, but young promises. Thus the view of the clubs will work and not only the powerful will be able to make good acquisitions, but also the less financially strong on condition of good information and good sense ”.
“He has just fallen into a serious mistake that will do a lot of damage to football by accelerating its conversion into mere spectacle. We are a rabidly Spanish team and we defend the essences of Spanish sport ”.
“It is a mistake to overestimate the importance of a tournament like the European Cup, which does not have official approval and is strictly speaking a test. The important thing is to develop the authentic national sport, to strengthen the team, which has not been able to give us victories for a long time, and not to accentuate the economic and sporting gap between the three or four big clubs and the others. With the reopening of imports, all this will worsen ”.
Thus, with a relative majority, the Spanish Federation presented an appeal to the agreement formulated by the National Sports Delegation to reconsider its provision of August 22, 1953, signed by General Moscardó, which prohibited the hiring of foreign players. It was finally arranged that each club could hire two players, of which at least one must be Hispanic-American or Filipino, [ 20 ] and as long as they did not compete in the Spanish Cup Championship . It should be noted that another of the main triggers for this ban was the "Di Stéfano case" after a dispute over his signing between Real Madrid and Barcelona.. The resolution, at the request of the federations and due to the fact that the ban did not produce notable improvements in the Spanish team, also established limits and payment fees based on the capacity of the stadium itself so as not to distort national football too much or harm clubs minors. [ 21 ]
Later it was established that only the so-called natives could compete , that is, foreigners who were nationalized or who proved they had a Spanish family background. The so-called regulation of the natives was, however, the subject of much controversy and the origin of corruption. For this reason, it was finally abolished in 1974 and the participation of two foreigners per club was authorized, and later it was expanded in the 1990s.
Since then there has been a boom in hiring, which was increased decades later by the " Bosman case " of free transfer of players between member states of the European Union and without restriction of the number of foreigners in the clubs, [ 22 ] until it was restricted to a maximum of three later. So with everything, since the establishment of the championship more than 3,500 players have participated in the competition. [ N1 ] The Atletico Madrid is the most foreign contract has throughout its history, with 182 (30% of the total of its historical players). [ 18 ] In contrast, Athletic ClubCuriously, the club from which the Madrilenians come, has only had seven foreigners. [ citation required ] [ n 2 ] Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay are the most represented nationalities behind Spain. [ 18 ]
Birth of the LFP
Despite the fact that Spanish football was professionalized since the beginning of the competition, it was not until the 1984-85 season that the Spanish First Division entered a new restructuring. The RFEF , which until then was in charge of organizing the tournament, ceded its powers to the recently created National Professional Football League (LFP), an independent body, at the initiative of the clubs themselves after disagreements with the national federation regarding the management of professionalization and the economic distribution of the benefits of the championship. Since then the competition became known as La Liga , once the National League Championship and a name relegated to the background. [23 ] Despite this, the body is part of the RFEF although with legal autonomy and is made up of all First and Second Division clubs, considered professional leagues in Spain.
Two seasons later it was tried to try to increase competitiveness (without success, since it lasted until June and did not achieve the intended objectives) one of the most significant reforms in its history: the play-off system to elucidate the champion and the descents, in force in some European championships. Once the so-called regular league of the corresponding 34 days was over, the then 18 participating clubs were divided into three groups of six teams for the final resolutions in ten more days. For this reason, this campaign was the longest in history, with 44 days. A single team descended and three were promoted, so the following year a 20-team championship began, a format that was briefly expanded to 22 for two years due to extra-sports issues.
In the summer of 1995 the LFP decided to exclude from its competitions for the 1995-96 to the Celta de Vigo and the Sevilla and relegate them administratively to Second Division "B" by different defects in the documentation of registration, to the next day to meet the deadline for delivery. Simultaneously, Valladolid and Albacete , two teams relegated to the Second Division at the conclusion of the previous championship, were invited to occupy the Galician and Sevilla squad and formalized their registration. [ 24 ]
The two affected clubs filed appeals based on the General Law of Administration and Common Administrative Procedure, considering that the LFP had violated the right of both entities to correct, once notified, the documentary deficiencies of a file delivered on time. For their part, people from Valladolid and Albacete also presented their allegations to the Higher Sports Council (CSD) considering the Administrative Procedure Law inapplicable because the LFP and RFEF are private entities, thus demanding that their category be recognized once the invitation is accepted. received and formalized the registration as required. [ 25 ]
With the CSD and the Royal Spanish Federation inhibited, the final decision was left to the discretion of the full Assembly of the National Professional Football League, which met in a live televised session. Maintaining the exclusion of Celta de Vigo and Sevilla meant the risk of a judicial paralysis of the competitions and the certain threat of millionaire compensation to involved clubs, sponsors and commercial partners (television); Similar risks were looming if those excluded were Valladolid and Albacete , who, complementing the procedures after the invitation received, argued that they had acquired the right to participate in the highest category. After the crude intervention of the president of Compostela , José María Caneda, which brought out the dubious management of the organism, the Assembly's agreement was achieved by acclamation with a compromise solution that consisted in increasing the number of teams participating in the league tournament by two, extending to 42 matches during the two seasons following. The solution implied modifying the number of promotions and demotions from the 1996-97 season , in which four teams were relegated, only two were promoted, and the third-placed in Second played against the fifth worst in First's promotion; The fourth classified in Second was also financially compensated for depriving him of the possibility of contesting the promotion. In return, from the 1999-2000 season the promotion was eliminated and the number of promotions and direct demotions between the First and Second Division per season was increased by one (from two to three).
Subsequently, in the 2014-15 season there was a similar case with the administrative decline of Elche decreed by the LFP for non-payment of debts of the Elche club to the State Tax Administration Agency (AEAT), but in this case the Situation after recourse to justice: Eibar , who had descended sportingly that same season, was re-caught to play the new 2015-16 season . [ 29 ]
During the 1990s the competition began to be called the "league of the stars" due to the incipient number of established footballers who began to arrive in Spain, and who, together with those who were already in the country, began to give a great projection to competition at an international level. The appearance of private televisions in Spain and the pay-per-view system , thanks to which the clubs greatly increased their income thanks to the broadcasting contracts of televised matches, encouraged expansion. It was one of the main reasons that allowed them to hire many of the best footballers in the world, who during the last decades used to visit England and Italy. Circumstances, however, that were to the detriment of the Spanish players who saw more and more players of different nationalities arrive. This event reached its highest point when for the first time a club lined up eleven players of different nationality in its starting team, in the match between Granada Club de Fútbol —the one involved— and Real Betis Balompié , in the match corresponding to the Matchday 23 of the 2016-17 season . [ N 3 ] [ 30 ] The same club also formed with an eleven without Spaniards, the same as Atletico Madrid in 2008, [ 31 ] orSevilla Fútbol Club in 2016 to name a few. [ 32 ] To alleviate such circumstances, also occurred in other countries like Italy, [ n 4 ] the UEFA began in the mid-2000s to establish a series of regulations to comply to dispute the continental competitions and had impact on national championships, such as that a team must necessarily register at least four players trained in the club's country of origin, and that at least two have been trained in their respective lower categories, [ 33 ]Subsequently increasing the figures to eight players in total, and at least four from the quarry itself. [ 34 ]
Saving the case, the competition began to have a great growth, until it came to position itself as one of the leading leagues in the world. According to the annual classification made by the International Federation of Football History and Statistics (IFFHS), the First Division of Spain ended the year 2015 considered the best football league in the world, since it also held in the 2000s, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014, more than any other since this ranking was made.
In need of income to maintain its projection, it signed its first sponsorship agreement in the 2008-09 campaign similar to the English Premier League , a benchmark in this regard and the one that obtains the greatest benefits worldwide. As a result, it changed its name for the first time after a three-year agreement between the National Professional Football League and Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria , adopting the name Liga BBVA - a qualifier that had been used during the two previous seasons for the Second Division -. [ 35 ] The agreement lasted until the 2016-17 campaign, when it was renamedLaLiga Santander , following an agreement with Banco Santander . [ 1 ]
This was one of the agreements under the presidency of the LFP of Javier Tebas , who until then was in charge of jointly negotiating the audiovisual rights of the 30 First and Second Division clubs in search of a more equitable distribution among all and save the already growing distances between professional teams. The sponsorship followed the line of the president to clean up the competition and the clubs on an economic and social level, while continuing with its expansion and growth. [ 36 ] The high indebtedness of the clubs led to the imposition of strict measures of economic and financial control, [ 37 ]And despite the criticisms raised in the first instance, it helped the clubs reduce 25% of the total debt maintained with the Tax Agency, which went from 647 million euros to 482 million in a period of 12 months. [ 37 ] With greater control, equitable distributions were stabilized and agreements were signed focused on booming international markets that reported new avenues of entry. [ 38 ] Thus, schedules were modified and broadcasts were focused abroad, especially towards Asia and America. [ 36 ]
Midway through the 2019-20 championship, there was an outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 , a global viral pandemic [ 39 ] that reached Europe from Asia. [ 40 ] [ 41 ] As different countries of the continent were recorded cases of infection and death, sporting bodies began to take preventive measures and although only one of the matches scheduled in Spain was played behind closed doors (without public ), to slow down their advance, [ 42 ]The concern and contagions did not cease, and there were cases in soccer players and managers of various clubs. Against the background La Liga decided to suspend the competition awaiting new developments, [ 43 ] as it did the UEFA in the Champions League and Europa League , [ 44 ] [ 45 ] and the CONI and the FIGC with the Italian championship , to cite cases of a similar magnitude. [ 46 ]After an improvement after months of confinement to the population to stop the infections, the government decreed that the competitions could resume their activity, [ 47 ] and was finally able to conclude on July 19 after the dispute of the pending days. It was because of this the longest league in the tournament's history. [ 48 ]
Throughout the history of the competition, sixty-two different teams have participated, only three of which have always remained in the first category since its inaugural edition. This is the Athletic Club , the FC Barcelona and Real Madrid CF . These three also, together with CA Osasuna , are the only ones that continue to be sports entities owned by their partners instead of sports corporations.shareholder ownership, a privilege granted by having obtained a positive net equity balance in the audits commissioned by the LFP since the 1985-86 season, and exceptionally until the date of the introduction of Law 10/1990 on Sports. As soon as any of these entities incur losses, they will be required by law to become SAD.
In addition to the three aforementioned teams that have always played in the First Division, there are only six other teams in Spain that have never participated in a category lower than the Second, therefore also always participating in professional football: Valencia CF , Club Atlético de Madrid , RCD Espanyol , Sevilla FC , Real Sporting de Gijón and Real Sociedad de Fútbol .
The oldest field game in the competition Spain is the Mestalla Stadium , with origins in 1923 and used by Valencia CF, surpassing for just one month to the Estadio El Madrigal in the Villarreal CF . [ 49 ] On the other hand, Atlético de Madrid's Wanda Metropolitano , and Athletic Club's San Mamés Stadium are the most innovative venues in the competition. The latter replaced the previous homonymous stadium, which was the only one that hosted all the editions of the First Division until its demolition in 2013, at which time the Valencian field became the one that has hosted the most editions of the competition with 85.
Although in the first years only ten teams participated, later the number gradually increased to the current twenty teams. The number of twenty-two was also reached during the 1995-96 and 1996-97 seasons .
|2020-21 season teams|
|Deportivo Alavés||Granada Football Club|
|Athletic Club||Sports Society Huesca|
|Athletic Club of Madrid||Raise Sports Union|
|Barcelona Soccer Club||Osasuna Athletic Club|
|Real Betis Balompié||Real Madrid Football Club|
|Cádiz Football Club||Real Sociedad de Fútbol|
|Real Club Celta de Vigo||Sevilla Football Club|
|Eibar Sports Society||Valencia Football Club|
|Elche Football Club||Real Valladolid Football Club|
|Getafe Football Club||Villarreal Football Club|
Among the participants, the Sociedad Deportiva Huesca is the newest team in the championship by playing its second season in the highest category,
in contrast to Athletic Club , Real Madrid Club de Fútbol and Fútbol Club Barcelona , who have played all editions of the championship.
The Spanish First Division is a tournament organized and regulated (jointly with the Second Division ) by the National Professional Football League (LFP), whose members are the participating clubs themselves.
The competition is held annually, starting at the end of August or early September, and ending in May or June of the following year.
The First Division consists of a single group made up of twenty teams, belonging to football clubs or sports corporations (SAD). Following a league system , the twenty teams face each other on two occasions, one in their own field and the other in the opposite field for a total of 38 days. The order of the matches is decided by lottery before the start of the competition.
The final classification is established according to the total points obtained by each team at the end of the championship. Teams earn three points for each game won, one point for each tie, and no points for games lost. If at the end of the championship two teams equal points, the mechanisms to tie the tie are as follows:
- The one with the greatest difference between goals for and against according to the result of the matches played between them.
- The one with the highest goal difference in favor taking into account all those obtained and received during the course of the competition.
- The club that has scored the most goals.
If the tie on points is between three or more clubs, the successive tie-breaking mechanisms are as follows:
- The best score corresponding to each one according to the results of the matches played against each other by the clubs involved.
- The greatest difference in goals for and against, considering only the matches played against each other by the clubs involved.
- The greatest difference in goals for and against taking into account all the matches of the championship.
- The highest number of goals in favor taking into account all the matches of the championship.
- The highest ranked club according to the fair play standards.
The team that scores the most points at the end of the championship will be proclaimed League champion and will obtain the automatic right to participate in the group stage of the next edition of the UEFA Champions League , together with the runner-up, the third-placed and the fourth classified. [ 50 ] The fifth-placed team will obtain the right to participate in the play-off round of the next UEFA Europa League and, the sixth, in the third tie of the same. [ 51 ] If in the Copa del Reythe champion is among the six best classified, the seventh classified will obtain the right to play the third previous round of the next edition of the Europa League. In addition, the champion and the runner-up compete in the Spanish Super Cup , facing the finalists of the Copa del Rey that same season.
The last three teams will be relegated to the Second Division and, from this, the first two classified and a third winner of a knockout system will reciprocally advance, thus replacing the relegated teams. The third promotion from Second Division determined by the knockout system will be the winner of a final composed of the winner of the tie between the third and sixth highest ranked, and the winner of the tie between the fourth and fifth best ranked. The heats will be played in the first leg on the field of the worst classified in the regular competition. This system was introduced in the 2010-11 season , while previously the third best ranked directly promoted.
Until the 1998-99 season , the last two classified were down directly, and the 17th and 18th were playing a promotion facing the third and fourth classified of the Second Division, respectively. The winners of those games managed to play in the First Division the following season and the losers played in the Second Division.
In the 1986-87 season , a knock-out system was played which, at the end of the regular season, divided the teams into three groups of six teams each according to the classification they had obtained after the 34 ordinary days. Six fought for the title, six fought for the League Cup and the remaining six fought to avoid relegation. The points harvested in the qualifiers were added to those achieved in the regular league.
The clubs can line up the players who have previously been registered, having a maximum of 25 federative cards. Of these, only three may correspond to non-EU foreign footballers; that is, players whose nationality does not correspond to the countries of the European Union . In matches, these three non-EU members can line up simultaneously.
There are two periods open for the registration of footballers: the first, before the start of the competition (July and August) and, the second, mid-season (during the month of January). Outside of these periods, registrations are only authorized, exceptionally, if a player leaves due to injury with an estimated period of inactivity of more than five months.
Apart from the 25 professional footballers registered, the clubs can line up the players of their subsidiary and lower categories in an unlimited way if they are under twenty-three years old and do not have a professional license. If, on the other hand, they are over twenty-three years of age, the regulations prevent them from returning to act in a lower category team if they play more than ten games in the First Division.
Sports justice issues are the responsibility of the Royal Spanish Football Federation through its Sports Discipline Committees: Competition Committee, Competition Judges and Appeal Committee. The Competition Committee issues weekly sanctions for footballers. The players are sanctioned with a suspension match in case of accumulating five cautions throughout the championship. Likewise, those players sent off during a match are suspended.
The referees of each match are appointed by a commission created for this purpose and made up of representatives of the LFP and the RFEF.
Current regulations on foreign players
Each club can register 25 players in the league each season, of which only three can have nationality outside the countries of the European Union . European legislation does not make a distinction between players of Spanish nationality and nationals of any other country in the Union.
In the 1990s , the participation of a third foreigner per team was authorized and, subsequently, a fourth with the condition that only three coincided at the same time on the field of play. With the Bosman ruling of 1995 , which opened the doors of the League to all Europeans, the number of non-EU places per club was reduced to three. However, this caused Spanish clubs to receive a large number of foreigners, especially Latin Americans, who often process a community passport due to their European ancestry.
Today, Athletic Club is the only team that does not sign players not born in the Basque Country and the so-called Basque provinces or trained in the quarry of a Basque club. [ 52 ] The club has maintained this custom since 1911 .
There have been several cases of coaches who have forgotten this rule. In the 2003-04 season , the Real Racing Club de Santander coach , Lucas Alcaraz , lined up four non-EU members on the field for two minutes at the same time in the match played against CA Osasuna on December 14 , 2003 . [ 53 ] This action earned Racing losing the point obtained in that match and an economic sanction, as well as a suspension for the coach. Other similar situations occurred with Jorge Valdano as the protagonist on two occasions: once, with Real Madrid in 1994and, the second, in a match between Valencia CF and Racing de Santander in the 1997-98 season ; [ 54 ] or with Sergije Krešić in a match between Real Valladolid CF and Real Betis Balompié .
In 2005 the regulations changed and only allowed clubs to have three non-EU members on the squad. This affected several clubs that had already filled the four positions allowed until then. This was the case of FC Barcelona , which had on its squad (in addition to several players with a community passport) the Brazilian Ronaldinho , the Cameroonian Samuel Eto'o and the Mexican Rafael Márquez , with which Lionel Messi could not participate in the League matches until after processing your dual nationality. [ 55 ]
- For a better detail of each edition see History of the First Division of Spain
Despite the fact that 63 different teams have played in the First Division throughout its history, so far only nine clubs have been able to win the tournament: Real Madrid Club de Fútbol , 34 times, which was even five-time champion 2 times (1960 -65 and 1985-90); Fútbol Club Barcelona , at 26; Club Atlético de Madrid , at 10; Athletic Club , at 8; Valencia Football Club , at 6; Real Sociedad de Fútbol , in 2 and Real Betis Balompié , Sevilla Fútbol Club and Real Club Deportivo de La Coruña , in one.
Even so, in the last 36 seasons, two teams (FC Barcelona and Real Madrid) have captured the championships 31 times. This hegemony is repeated in other international leagues: the Portuguese Football League , where the Sport Lisboa and Benfica teams and the Futebol Clube do Porto have been champions in 33 of the last 36 years; the Egyptian League , where Al-Ahly stands out with 40 of the 59 championships; and the Scottish Premiership , where Celtic Football Club and Rangers Football Clubthey gather 103 of the 122 titles (including the last 33). A common fact in the major European leagues, where the 14 of the last 17 titles are added for Football Club Internazionale or Juventus Football Club in Serie A ; or 14 of the last 20 for Fußball-Club Bayern in the Bundesliga .
Note: Names and flags of the teams according to the time. In parentheses, times the club has been champion.
|Club||Champion||Subcamp.||Third||Years of the championships|
|Real Madrid C. F.||1932, 1933, 1954, 1955, 1957, 1958, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1972, 1975, 1976, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1995, 1997, 2001, 2003, 2007, 2008, 2012, 2017, 2020|
|F. C. Barcelona||1929, 1945, 1948, 1949, 1952, 1953, 1959, 1960, 1974, 1985, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1998, 1999, 2005, 2006, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2018, 2019|
|Atlético de Madrid||1940, 1941, 1950, 1951, 1966, 1970, 1973, 1977, 1996, 2014|
|Athletic Club||1930, 1931, 1934, 1936, 1943, 1956, 1983, 1984|
|Valencia C. F.||1942, 1944, 1947, 1971, 2002, 2004|
|Real society||1981, 1982|
|RC Deportivo de La Coruña||2000|
|Sevilla F. C.||1946|
|UD Las Palmas|
|R. Sporting de Gijón|
|Villarreal C. F.|
- For a complete statistical summary of the competition see Statistics of the First Division of Spain
The 4616 points achieved by Real Madrid Club de Fútbol place it as the leader in the historical classification of the competition among the 63 teams that have ever participated in it. 92 points below is the second classified, Fútbol Club Barcelona . [ 57 ] Prepared by the National Professional Football League , it is based on the points achieved by each team in the First Division, based on the current scoring system for victories of two or three points to the winner, and establishing a historical record with the of three points.
|Pos||Club||Seasons||points||PJ||PG||ON||PP||Pts. ×3||Titles||% Titles.||% Punt.|
|1||Real Madrid Football Club||90||4616||2876||1716||576||584||5724||34||37.78||66.34|
|2||Barcelona Soccer Club||90||4524||2876||1660||585||631||5565||26||28.89||64.62|
|3||Athletic Club of Madrid||84||3667||2728||1304||634||790||4546||10||11.11||55.55|
|4||Valencia Football Club||86||3573||2778||1238||650||890||4364||6||6.67||52.36|
|6||Sevilla Football Club||77||3006||2522||1043||559||920||3688||1||1.11||48.74|
|7||Real Club Deportivo Espanyol||85||2919||2740||979||642||1119||3579||-||-||43.54|
|8||Real Sociedad de Fútbol||74||2728||2416||907||603||906||3324||2||2.22||46.15|
|10||Real Betis Balompié||55||2036||1842||648||465||729||2409||1||1.11||43.59|
Historic scorers table
- For complete details see Top scorers in the Spanish First Division .
The top scorer in the competition is the Argentine Lionel Messi with 455 goals, followed by the Portuguese Cristiano Ronaldo and the Spaniard Telmo Zarra with 311 and 251 goals respectively, after overcoming the first two, the Spanish record that for years remained unattainable in the history of the competition. These three players are joined by a fourth, the Spanish-Argentine Alfredo Di Stéfano , as those who accumulate the most triplets or hat-tricks : 36 for Messi, 34 for Cristiano Ronaldo, and 22 for Zarra and Di Stéfano.
Among the top scorers, the Spanish Isidro Lángara is the player with the best scoring average in the competition with 1.16 goals per game, [ 58 ] ahead of the aforementioned Cristiano Ronaldo with an average of 1.07, Agustín Sauto Bata's 0.92 and 0.91 from Telmo Zarra. Only nine footballers have managed to score more than 200 goals in the competition.
It is the Marca newspaper that awards the Pichichi trophy to the top scorer, in addition to various other individual annual awards. Among them, the Zamora trophy stands out , awarded to the goalkeeper with the most favorable coefficient of goals conceded per game; or the Zarra trophy , awarded to the highest national scorer among others. Among all the named footballers, they add 25 top scorer distinctions, being led by Messi's seven and Zarra's six.
Note: Accounted matches and goals according to official records. Active players and current club highlighted .
Players with the highest number of games played
- For a complete detail see Players with the most presence in the Spanish First Division
Among the players who have played the most games throughout the history of the competition, the Vitorian Andoni Zubizarreta stands out above all , who played a total of 622 games between the three teams in which he played in the highest category for 17 seasons. All of them he played as a starter and only four of them did not finish, being also the only player who has managed to exceed 600 games in the First Division. Behind him are Joaquín Sánchez from Cádiz with a total of 566 games, and Raúl González from Madrid with 550, being the outfield player - not a goalkeeper - with the highest record achieved with a single club in 16 seasons. The Valladolid Eusebio SacristánWith a total of 543 divided into four teams and 19 seasons, he precedes Paco Buyo from A Coruña , Manolo Sanchís and Iker Casillas from Madrid , Xavi Hernández from Barcelona and Miquel Soler from Girona , who complete the group of nine footballers to be the only ones to have played. more than 500 matches in the competition. [ 74 ]
Regarding foreign participants, it is the Spanish-Argentine Lionel Messi who accumulates the most games with a total of 502, after surpassing the previous record of 466 of the Spanish-Brazilian Donato da Silva , while the Estoniorruso Valeri Karpin is the first player of non-nationalized Spaniards to top the record with 384 encounters. The aforementioned Soler and César Sánchez from Cáceres are the players who have played the most seasons in the First Division with 20 each.
Among the active players, it is the aforementioned Joaquín Sánchez who has the most appearances with 566 games spread over seventeen seasons.
Note: highlighted active players in the category during the 2019-20 campaign in addition to their current team.
Summary of the most notable changes
- League of 10 teams from the 1928-29 season (first edition) to the 1933-34 season (inclusive), 12-team league from the 1934-35 season to the 1940-41 season (both inclusive, although between 1936 and 1939 not there were competitions due to the civil war), League of 14 teams from the 1941-42 season to 1949-50 (both inclusive), League of 16 teams from the 1950-51 season to the 1970-71 season (both inclusive), League of 18 teams from the 1971-72 season to the 1986-87 season (both inclusive), League of 20 teams from the 1987-88 season to the present, with the exceptions of the 1995-96 and 1996-97 leagues with 22 teams.
- As of the 1995-96 season, 3 points are awarded per victory. The obligation to put the name and / or surname on the number of each player was also established and the number of substitutions allowed during the match is extended from 2 to 3 for each team.
- As of the 1996-97 season, the so-called " Bosman law " is applied , which considered any player from the European Union as belonging to the country, without occupying a foreign position.
- As of the 1999-2000 season, the promotion of relegation / promotion was eliminated and the number of promotions and direct descents between First and Second Division per season was increased by one (from two to three).
- As of the 2018-19 season, the VAR and the asymmetric calendar are implemented .
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- Portal: Soccer in Europe . Content related to Soccer in Europe .
- Portal: Sport in Spain . Content related to Sport in Spain .
- Not including the 2015-16 season.
- It should be noted that five were of Spanish parents, and two were born in the Basque-French area, circumstances that the club considers valid in its historical policy of having exclusively Spanish players.
- lined up the following players: Ochoa (Mexico), Adrián Ramos (Colombia), Ingason (Iceland), Gastón Silva (Uruguay), Hongla (Cameroon), Wakaso (Ghana), Andreas Pereira (Brazil), Foulquier (France), Uche Agbo (Nigeria) and Carcela (Morocco).
- In 2016, FC Internazionale Milano (a club that had already incurred the case previously), and Udinese Calcio initially played with eleven players not born in the country , Italy, being the first time in the history of the transalpine championship that neither of the 22 players was national.
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