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The División de Fútbol Profesional, known until 2017 as Liga de Fútbol Profesional Boliviano, is the highest professional football league in Bolivia. Since 1950, a total of 16 clubs have been crowned champions of the Bolivian football league system. Bolivar is the most successful club with 28 titles. The current champion is San José, who won the title in Torneo Clausura in 2018.
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The organization of football in Bolivia began in 1914 with the establishment of regional associations and their respective competitions. The "Football Association of La Paz" (Asociación de Fútbol de La Paz - AFLP) was the first organized association with 29 championships, which were held between 1914 and 1949. The AFLP has been considered the best football tournament in the country for many years. In 1950, the organization changed its constitution to professionalize the sport in Bolivia. So the "Torneo Profesional" was launched.
Between 1950 and 1959 only clubs from La Paz, Oruro (since 1954) and Cochabamba (1955) took part in the championship, since football was still amateur in the other regions.
In late 1960, the Bolivian Football Association established a national championship to crown a Bolivian champion in the newly created Copa Libertadores. The competition named "Copa Simón Bolívar" was held by champions and runners-up regional federations.
The demise of the Bolivian national team in the FIFA World Cup qualifiers in 1978 (where they were beaten by Brazil 8-0 and Peru 5-0) encouraged some clubs to create their own league, leaving 16 teams separated from their respective associations "Liga de Fútbol Profesional Boliviano" (Bolivian Professional League - LFPB) to autonomously organize the 1977 championships.
The creation of the LFPB ended the award. This also led to the creation of three separate units: The role of the FBF was limited to the international representation of Bolivia in sport, the newly created LFPB was the organizer of the only Erstligaturniers and the LPFA together with the rest of the regional associations, the organizer of the second- and sub- regionalized tournaments. It was the first and only professional sports league in the country.
After a change in the constitution in the FBF in 2017, both the LFPB and the ANF merged to the "División de Fútbol Profesional", which is managed directly by the FBF and from 2018, the organization of the league.
The championship format has changed over the years. As of 1977, the league consisted of 16 divided into two series clubs, but changed from the mid-80s to 14 clubs in two series, which each year denied two tournaments, and economic problems with some teams led to a further decline in the number of participants to twelve one another change took place in 2005, when the teams decided to adapt to the international FIFA calendar, which meant that the season was played from August to June and not February to December, in order to settle problems for international tournaments Avoid teams. The league played a short tournament from February to June 2005, and the official 2005/06 season began in August. This led to another problem: The second division wanted to postpone the descent until June 2006. After the negotiations, the League decided that the descent of the club with the lowest rank would take place after the Apertura tournament The Bolivian League is an unusual tournament in which the teams descended in the middle of the season. However, this decision was lifted in November 2006 and the league with the Apertura tournament in March 2007 switched to a calendar year 2007 season. For the 2018 season, the number of teams was increased from twelve to fourteen.
Historically, teams from La Paz, Cochabamba and Santa Cruz dominated the league. By 2007, only San José had won the league in 1995, but since then teams from the "big three" have struggled to regain the league and have won 3 teams from smaller cities (Real Potosí, San José and Universitario).
Three teams share the record that they have never relegated to "La Simón Bolivar" (2nd Division): The Strongest, Oriente Petrolero and Bolívar (although they had relegated in 1969 before the LPFB era).
For the 2008 season and for the first time three tournaments were played instead of the usual two. The Apertura tournament was held from March to July on a round robin system. The Clausura tournament was held from August to October, with the teams split into two series of 6 teams each. Group A consisted of all Western teams (plus Universitario) and Group B consisted of all the Eastern teams (plus Wilstermann and Aurora), the two best teams. Each group reached the semi-finals and the final. The newly launched play-off tournament consisted of home games (and first-time rules for away goals).
An average score from the last two seasons determines the descent, with the last placed team directly descends and is replaced by the winner of the Liga Nacional B. The eleventh-placed team will contest a promotion play-off with runner-up Nacional B.
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