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Primeira Liga

Published on: 20/11/2016

The Primeira Liga is the common name for the top flight of Portuguese football. The league consists of 16 teams and the season runs from August until May. At the end of the campaign, the bottom two teams are relegated to the Segunda Liga from where the top two team are promoted.

The Portuguese league regularly ranks among Europe’s top five leagues according to the official UEFA rankings which are based on performances over a five-year period. The league has also been known by over names due to sponsorship. Recent sponsors and league names have included:

The seeds of Portuguese football were planted in the second part of the 19th century when a group of young men who had been educated in the English school system, got together with some British migrants to arrange some football matches. The first match took place in the town of Cascais in 1888. By the beginning of the 20th century, a more organised football system was in place and by 1910, the Associação de Futebol de Lisboa had been established. The first three teams to join the association were Sport Clube Campo de Ourique, Sport Clube Império and Sport Lisboa e Benfica. As a result, other football associations were established in the cities of Portalegre and Porto.

Eventually, the associations were merged to form a national union known as União Portuguesa de Futebol (UPF). In 1914, the body applied to join FIFA and was officially accepted in 1923. Soon after, the UPF changed its title to Federação Portuguesa de Futebol (FPF) and set about organising the first league competition in the country. The first ever Primeira Liga matches were held in 1934 with the first title being awarded to FC Porto who finished first ahead of Sporting Clube de Portugal.

In 1938, a cup competition known as the Taça de Portugal was established as a replacement for the Campeonato de Portugal which had been held since 1922. At the same time the Primeira Liga was rebranded as the “Primeira Divisão.”

In 1954, the FPF became one of the founding members of FIFA and later in 1999, the league reverted back to its original name of Primeira Liga before sponsorship once again forced an official name change.

Over the years, three clubs have dominated the league in Portugal - Porto FC, Benfica and Sporting CP. Since the beginning of the league system, only two other clubs have won the league championship - CF Os Belenenses (1945-46) and Boavista FC (2000–01).

The big three teams in Portugal have also enjoyed success on the European stage. Benfica have won the European Cup twice (1961, 1962). Sporting won the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup in 1964. And Porto FC have won the European Cup twice (1987, 2004), the UEFA Super Cup (1987) and the UEFA Cup (2003).

Published on: 20/11/2016 © Bet Bind