So it has been decided. We now know what format the Chilean Primera División will take come July and it will be in place for at least two seasons before further change which will see the league reduced from 18 teams to 16.
An ANFP meeting on Tuesday, which lasted nearly three hours, saw the decision taken to continue along the same lines of the current format but with the inclusion of an end of season liguilla to determine Chile’s final representatives in the Copa Libertadores and Copa Sudamericana. Another feature of the new format is that it falls in line with the European season.
The new format:
- There will be two 17 game tournaments like the one currently where the team at the top after 17 games is the winner. The Apertura will run from July 26 to December 8 and the Clausura will run in the new year between January 5 and April 27.
- A liguilla will take place at the end of each tournament between teams finishing from second to fifth to determine Copa Libertadores and Copa Sudamericana places. The liguilla at the end of the Apertura will decide who will represent Chile as ‘Chile 3’ in the 2014 Copa Libertadores and who will represent Chile ‘Chile 4’ in the 2014 Copa Sudamericana. The liguilla at the end of the Clausura will be used to decide who plays as ‘Chile 2’ in that year’s Sudamericana. Second plays fifth and third plays fourth with the winners of the each tie meeting in a final.
- ‘Chile 1’ and ‘Chile 2’in the 2014 Copa Libertadores will be the winners of the ongoing Torneo 2013 which Unión Española lead and the winners of the Apertura.
- At the end of the 2013-2014 season the bottom two teams of the general table (Apertura and Clausura combined) will be relegated and replaced by two sides from Primera B.
- The following season (2014-2015) three teams will be relegated with only one promoted with the league being reduced to 16 teams.
- The league follows the European ‘season’. The Apertura used to run from the start of the new year, concluding with the Clausura in the second half of the year. That has changed so the Apertura takes places at the same time as (roughly) the first half of the European season with the Clausura starting in the new year.
- The Copa Chile group stages take place between July 3 and July 24 with the top two from each group entering the knock-out stage. The final will take place on Januray 22 2014 with the winner representing Chile as ‘Chile 1’ in that year’s Copa Sudamericana. ‘Chile 3’ in the Copa Sudamericana will be the team with the most combined points from the Apertura and Clausura.
- A Supercopa Chile will be played on July 10 2013 between Universidad de Chile (Copa Chile winners 2012-2013) and the winners of Torneo 2013.
La Tercera gives a nice breakdown of who will represent Chile in the two continental competitions.
After the decision Sergio Jadue, president of the ANFP, said that most club presidents wanted a return of the play-offs but he told the Chilean media that they understand it is impossible to play with play-offs and that they are finally correcting and error that has existed in Chilean football, producing a tournament that is fair for everyone.