Background to Colombian Football

The Beginnings

It is commonly thought that football first came to Colombia through English railroad workers working on the railroad in Barranquilla in 1903. The sport was passed on from these workers onto local workers in the area, which inspired the establishment of the first football club in Colombia, Barranquilla FC in 1909. Clubs were also founded in Bogotá. (Ginn). Colombia’s oldest football team, Independiente Medellín, was established in 1913 and is still competing in the first division today. The Colombian football federation known as the Liga de Fútbol was founded in 1924 but only became affiliated with FIFA and CONMEBOL in 1936. In 1948, the first football league in Colombia, the División Mayor del Fútbol Colombiano was founded with 10 teams. (Andrés, 1996).

El Dorado

Alfredo Di Stéfano

In 1951, only three years after the first professional Colombian football league was established, FIFA decided to remove their affiliation with the Colombian football association after complaints from South American countries about Colombia buying all their star players. This happened in the midst of the some of the greatest years of Colombian football, known as the “El Dorado” years, (the golden years). The illustrious period commenced in 1948 in Argentina where the dictator Juan Domingo Perón created a maximum wage for footballers of $175, which initiated a series of strikes by the players themselves and many of the big name footballers refused to play. (Arias) At a time where the Colombian Peso had almost the same purchasing power as the dollar, many of the disillusioned and underpaid stars of Argentine football made the attractive journey to Colombia where they were promised lucrative salaries. Millionarios of Bogotá kicked off the spending spree by buying the legendary Argentine player Adolfo Pedernera along with Néstor Rossi and one of the greatest ever players, Alfredo Di Stéfano. With these players, Millionarios became one of the best teams in the world, showcasing their talents by beating Real Madrid 4-2 in the Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid. (Urrego). It was not only Argentinians expatriating to Colombia, there were Brazilians, Uruguayans, Peruvians and the English. Even Neil Franklin and George Mountford of Stoke and Charlie Mitten of Manchester United were persuaded to make the journey to play in Colombia. However the golden years started to fade away as much of the money promised to the players was not paid and the disaffiliation from FIFA started to take its toll. With this in mind, many of the star players began to return home. (The Guardian, 2009).

List of Winners and Runners up of the Colombian League Since 1948 (provided by Juan Pablo Andrés)

        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