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The Liga de Fútbol Profesional's Primera División, better known as La Liga Mayor or La Primera, is the highest professional football league in El Salvador.
It was founded in 1969 and had 10 clubs in 2011. Originally the league was held as a year-long tournament, but since 1998 there are two tournaments every year, similar to many other football leagues in the Americas.
The Apertura season lasts from August to December, while the Clausura season lasts from February to July. La Liga Mayor follows the usual double-round-robin format.
During a certain season (Apertura or Clausura), each club plays twice, once at home and once away, for a total of 18 games. Teams receive three points for a win, one point for a draw and no points for a defeat. The teams are ranked by total score, with the top four clubs progressing to the final at the end of the season.
If two or more clubs have the same score, the placement usually depends on the goal difference. If the team is tied in fourth and fifth place, a repechaje or playoff is required to determine which team will reach the final. There is an ascent and descent system between the Primera División and the Segunda División.
In May of each year, the team with the fewest points in both seasons after the season for Apertura and Clausura automatically descends into the Segunda División, while the team with the second-lowest points in a season for Repechaje or must participate playoff with the second place the Segunda División. The winner of this home and away fixture will receive a place in the Primera División for the following season.
This means that a maximum of two teams from the Primera División can be relegated each year, depending on the results of the Repechaje between the second-last team of the Primera División and the second-placed of the Segunda División.
La Liga Mayor has two guaranteed seats in the CONCACAF Champions League. A place in the preliminary round and a place in the group stage. The winner of each Apertura and Clausura season automatically participates in this tournament. In order to determine which team will participate in the tournament at which point in time, the points of both seasons will be added together, with the team with the most points reaching the group stage and the other team reaching the preliminary round. If the same team is to win both the Apertura and Clausura seasons, this team will automatically enter the group stage and re-score points for both seasons will be used to designate the second team to qualify for the preliminary round.
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