All you need to know about Spain La Liga

Spain's top football league

Overview of La Liga 

In the year 1925, legalization of professional soccer in Spain was highly debatable, and as a result, clubs and parties involved organized the birth of La Liga. After an extensive discussion on pressing matters regarding rules of the Federation and the number of football teams that should form part of the championship, an agreement was reached in 1928 which lead to the establishment of Spain’s national soccer divisions. Since then, there have been major and minor alterations to the format. Indeed, Professional Spanish Soccer is what is currently referred to as La Liga (or the League), but it should be remembered that its official name is popularly known as Liga de Fútbol Profesional or simply, Professional Football League.

Football field for Real Madrid, one of the top clubs in La Liga League

Spain’s La Liga is sometimes referred to as the Primera Division and La Liga Santander simply because of sponsorship rights. As earlier stated, it is currently the top professional football association of the Spanish football league system. Just like many football leagues in Europe, at most 20 clubs contest Spain’s La Liga during every other season. The three lowest placed clubs in the table are relegated to the lower division, called Segunda Division, and replaced by two top-placed teams in that division and of course, plus the playoff winner.

Spain’s La Liga rankings

Spain’s La Liga is undoubtedly and perhaps the most important league in Spain and probably the most popular sports leagues across the globe. In fact, most La Liga matches are played in stadiums packed to the brim with die-hard football fans coming from all corners of Spain. Indeed, during the 2015-2016 season, the average stadium attendance per match was about 26,700 spectators, which means it is the highest average percentage in the world. According to league coefficients released yearly by UEFA, La Liga has been ranked the top league in Europe, not once, not twice, not thrice, but for the last five years! As a matter of fact, it boasts of producing the continent’s top-rated clubs on 18 different times, which no other league across the world has done. It should be remembered that Spain’s La Liga clubs have been on the record winning the highest number of UEFA Champions League as well as UEFA Europa League titles. As if that is not enough, players from La Liga have accumulated the highest number of FIFA Ballon d’Or prizes/awards.

It is true that statistics does not lie, being dubbed as the most popular league in the world is not a big joke. Most football fans from across the globe are tuned to their big screened-televisions every other time La Liga matches are being played. According to FIFA, Spain’s La Liga is the fifth highest of any domestic professional sports league in the globe and the third-highest of any professional association soccer league on the planet, of course, behind the Premier League and the Bundesliga.

Barcelona's stadium with the highest fans ever La Liga

La Liga’s Brief History 

It is believed that the journey to the birth of La Liga begun in early 1925 when a proposal to form a national league in Spain was all over in the air. In 1927, the idea had sunk into the ears and brains of many football enthusiasts, and with a small debate about who take part in the competition and the size of the league, La Liga was unanimously formed. During that time, it was agreed only ten teams would create the so-called Primera Division in 1929, which include Real Madrid, Barcelona, Real Sociedad, Athletic Bilbao, among others. Since then, new rules have been formed in the above league, while others are abolished. Currently, 20 clubs are contesting in La Liga.

Spain’s La Liga Clubs

As earlier stated, in its current season, 20 clubs participate in the league. It includes the top 17 clubs in from the previous La Liga season, and 3 others promoted from Segunda Division, of which two are promoted directly and other one being the winner of the play-offs. You will be surprised to note that only three founding club members, that is Barcelona, Athletic Bilbao, and Real Madrid, have never been relegated from the La Liga championship.

Nevertheless, since its 1928-1929 season, over 60 clubs have competed in La Liga. Nine clubs have been declared league champions, with Real Madrid taking the cup 32 times and Barcelona Football Club winning 24 times. It should be remembered that Real Madrid has been dominating the league since the 1950s to sometime in 1980s. However, from the 1990s onwards, they have been sharing the cake with Barcelona. It is not that there are only two clubs in the championship, other clubs including Valencia, Deportivo La Coruna, Athletic Madrid, among others have also won La Liga titles several times.

Madrid taking the cup 32 times
Top four clubs in La Liga Qualify for UEFA Champs

Competition format for La Liga

Just like other leagues in Europe, the La Liga championship format follows the traditional round-robin format. In other words, during a season, which kicks-off from Augusts and ends in May, each football club plays every other team at least twice, once at home field and once at the away field. In general, each club should play 38 games. The points/rewards are assigned to the clubs as follows:

  • Three points for a win
  • One point for a draw
  • Zero points for a loss

The Spain’s La Liga clubs are then ranked by total points earned to determine the league position, and of course, the league’s champion. In the case of a tie in the first place, there are some detailed tiebreaker rules used to determine and crown the winner.

The results of La Liga league are then used to determine the entry into other European soccer competitions. For instance, the top clubs in the above league qualify for the UEFA Champions League. Indeed, the first, second, and third placed clubs enters directly into the group phase, while the fourth-placed club must participate in the playoffs to enter the group stages. The fifth and sixth-placed clubs qualify for the UEFA Europa League.

Conclusion

There is no doubt that football is a widespread passion in Spain and you will be surprised to note that almost everyone supports one of the three biggest teams. It is not only is Spain where La Liga matches are the heartbeat of football fans, but it is across the world. With global television coverage, most football fanatics can get to watch quality football made in Spain’s La Liga!

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