Football in Colombia was introduced in 1900 by some English engineers hired to build the railway from Barranquilla to Puerto Salgar.
Some local championships were played in Barranquilla and later in Bogotá, and then the first teams were founded: Barranquilla FC (which preceded Atlético Junior) and, in 1902, El Polo Club in Bogotá. Two members of El Polo Club, Jose Maria and Carlos Obregon, founded the Football Club of Bogota and provided the field on which the first official game (and second in the country's history) was played on September 7, 1902, between the "Red" and "White" teams; the match was divided into two halves of 35 minutes each and in order to win the match, a team should be victorious in both halves. In case of a draw, a secon game was to be played and so until one of the teams defeats the rival on both halves. After three games the "Red" team was declared the winners of the first football tournament in Colombia.
Different rules were translated in Colegio de San Bartolomé in Bogotá and a team called "Bartolinos" was organized there in 1907.
Between 1912 and 1914 a few tournaments were played in Bogotá, and in 1918 and 1919, some more short tournaments were held in Bogotá and Cali.
Little by little football became popular in the whole country, but only in 1924 was a Colombian asociation of football under the name of "Liga de Fútbol" founded and later recognized by Fifa and Conmebol in 1936.
In 1947 the President of Adefútbol, Mr Alfonso Senior Quevedo, proposed to begin a professional championship (he was the person who in 1973 got Colombia to be the host of the World Cup 1986. However, in 1982 the President of Colombia refused to organize it). Due to some political problems between 1947 and 1948, the championship began on August of 1948 when División Mayor del Fútbol Colombiano (Dimayor) was founded to organize it.
The league began with 10 teams and until 1959 the number of teams changed many times. For 4 years the number stabilized in 12 teams but, in 1963 it increased to 13 teams and in 1966 to 14 teams.
The years from 1949 to 1953 were the "golden years" of the Colombian teams because the important players in the clubs came from Argentina. That time is well known as "El Dorado".
Since 1968 the format of the championship was split into two tournaments: Apertura (from February to June) and Finalización (from July to December); the end of the season is played in a little league between a smaller number of teams wich decides the champion of the year.
Since 1991 a professional second division was created and then the number of teams in the first division extended to 16 teams because the champion of the second division is promoted to the first division and since 1993 the worst team in the first division is relegated to the second.
Up to 1999 16394 matches have been played and 46427 goals scored.
Champions Runners Up 1948 Independiente Santa Fe Atlético Junior 1949 Millonarios Deportivo Cali 1950 Once Caldas Millonarios 1951 Millonarios Boca Juniors (Cali) 1952 Millonarios Boca Juniors (Cali) 1953 Millonarios Atlético Quindio 1954 Atlético Nacional Atlético Quindio 1955 D. Independiente Medellín Atlético Nacional 1956 Atlético Quindio Millonarios 1957 D. Independiente Medellín Deportes Tolima 1958 Independiente Santa Fe Millonarios 1959 Millonarios D. Independiente Medellín 1960 Independiente Santa Fe América de Cali 1961 Millonarios D. Independiente Medellín 1962 Millonarios Deportivo Cali 1963 Millonarios Independiente Santa Fe 1964 Millonarios Cúcuta Deportivo 1965 Deportivo Cali Atlético Nacional 1966 Independiente Santa Fe D. Independiente Medellín 1967 Deportivo Cali Millonarios 1968 Unión Magdalena Deportivo Cali 1969 Deportivo Cali América de Cali 1970 Deportivo Cali Atlético Junior 1971 Independiente Santa Fe Atlético Nacional 1972 Millonarios Deportivo Cali 1973 Atlético Nacional Millonarios 1974 Deportivo Cali Atlético Nacional 1975 Independiente Santa Fe Millonarios 1976 Atlético Nacional Deportivo Cali 1977 Atlético Junior Deportivo Cali 1978 Millonarios Deportivo Cali 1979 América de Cali Independiente Santa Fe 1980 Atlético Junior Deportivo Cali 1981 Atlético Nacional Deportes Tolima 1982 América de Cali Deportes Tolima 1983 América de Cali Atlético Junior 1984 América de Cali Millonarios 1985 América de Cali Deportivo Cali 1986 América de Cali Deportivo Cali 1987 Millonarios América de Cali 1988 Millonarios Atlético Nacional 1989 championship not awarded 1990 América de Cali Atlético Nacional 1991 Atlético Nacional América de Cali 1992 América de Cali Atlético Nacional 1993 Atlético Junior D. Independiente Medellín 1994 Atlético Nacional Millonarios 1995 Atlético Junior América de Cali 1995/96 Deportivo Cali Millonarios 1996/97 América de Cali Atlético Bucaramanga 1998 Deportivo Cali Once Caldas 1999 Atlético Nacional América de Cali 2000 América de Cali Atlético Junior 2001 América de Cali D. Independiente Medellín 2002 Ap América de Cali Atlético Nacional Fi D. Independiente Medellín Deportivo Pasto 2003 Ap Once Caldas Atlético Junior Fi Deportes Tolima Deportivo Cali 2004 Ap D. Independiente Medellín Atlético Nacional Fi Atlético Junior Atlético Nacional 2005 Ap Atlético Nacional Independiente Santa Fe Fi Deportivo Cali Real Cartagena 2006 Ap Deportivo Pasto Deportivo Cali Fi Cúcuta Deportivo Deportes Tolima 2007 Ap Atlético Nacional Atlético Huila Fi Atlético Nacional CD La Equidad 2008 Ap Boyacá Chicó FC América de Cali Fi América de Cali D. Independiente Medellín 2009 Ap Once Caldas Atlético Junior Fi D. Independiente Medellín Atlético Huila 2010 Ap Atlético Junior CD La Equidad Cl Once Caldas Deportes Tolima 2011 Ap Atlético Nacional CD La Equidad Cl Atlético Junior Once Caldas 2012 Ap Independiente Santa Fe Deportivo Pasto Cl Millonarios D. Independiente Medellín 2013 Ap Atlético Nacional Independiente Santa Fe Cl Atlético Nacional Deportivo Cali 2014 Ap Atlético Nacional Atlético Junior Cl Independiente Santa Fe D. Independiente Medellín 2015 Ap Deportivo Cali D. Independiente Medellín Cl Atlético Nacional Atlético Junior 2016 Ap D. Independiente Medellín Atlético Junior Cl Independiente Santa Fe Deportes Tolima 2017 Ap Atlético Nacional Deportivo Cali Cl Millonarios Independiente Santa Fe 2018 Ap Deportes Tolima Atlético Nacional Cl Atlético Junior D. Independiente Medellín 2019 Ap Atlético Junior Deportivo Pasto Cl América de Cali Atlético Junior 2020 Ap América de Cali Independiente Santa Fe Cl cancelled 2021 Ap Deportes Tolima Millonarios Cl Deportivo Cali Deportes Tolima 2022 Ap Atlético Nacional Deportes Tolima Cl Deportivo Pereira D. Independiente Medellín 2023 Ap Cl Total Championships (94; runners-up finishes between square brackets) 17  Atlético Nacional (Medellín) 15  Millonarios (Bogotá) 15 [ 7] América de Cali 10  Deportivo Cali 9  Atlético Junior (Barranquilla) 9 [ 6] Independiente Santa Fe (Bogotá) 6  Deportivo Independiente Medellín 4 [ 2] Once Caldas (Manizales) 3 [ 8] Deportes Tolima (Ibagué) 1 [ 3] Deportivo Pasto 1 [ 2] Atlético Quindio (Armenia) 1 [ 1] Cúcuta Deportivo 1 Boyacá Chicó FC 1 Deportivo Pereira 1 Unión Magdalena (Santa Marta) [ 3] CD La Equidad [ 2] Boca Juniors (Cali) [ 2] Atlético Huila (Neiva) [ 1] Atlético Bucaramanga [ 1] Real Cartagena
Historical overview and corrections thanks to Frank Ballesteros and Hans Schöggl; partial source: [Car 10]
Prepared and maintained by Juan Pablo Andrés for the Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation
Author: Juan Pablo Andrés
Last updated: 31 Jan 2023
(C) Copyright Juan Pablo Andrés and RSSSF 1996/2023
You are free to copy this document in whole or part provided that proper acknowledgement is given to the author. All rights reserved.