Cypriot First Division

Cypriot First Division
Cypriot First Division
Countries Cyprus
Confederation UEFA
Founded 1934
Number of teams 14
Levels on pyramid 1
Relegation to Cypriot Second Division
Domestic cup(s) Cypriot Cup
LTV Super Cup
International cup(s) Champions League
UEFA Europa League
Current champions APOEL
Most championships APOEL (21 titles)
TV partners Lumiere TV
2011–12 Cypriot First Division

The Cypriot Championship First Division (Greek: Πρωτάθλημα Α' Κατηγορίας) (Turkish: Kıbrıs Birinci Ligi) is the top tier football league competition in Cyprus. As of 2007 it is sponsored by Marfin Popular Bank and is hence officially known as Marfin Laiki League (Greek: Πρωτάθλημα Marfin Laiki).



At present, 14 clubs compete in the league. Each club plays the others twice, once at their home stadium and once at that of their opponents, which makes a total of 26 games for each club. Since 2007-08 the league has a second round. In the second round the first 12 teams are separated into groups of 4 teams according to their position at the end of the first round. The last two teams are relegated to the second division. The points from the first round are carried to the second round and the teams play the other teams twice.

Teams receive three points for a win and one point for a draw. No points are awarded for a loss. The rule for three points for a win has been applied since 1992, before then two points were awarded for a win. Teams are ranked by total points, the matches between the teams, then goal difference and then goals scored. If teams are still equal they are deemed to occupy the same position. If the champions, teams for relegation or qualification for other competitions thus cannot be decided, a series of play-off match(es) are played between the affected teams, although this has yet to occur. Since the establishment of the league and until 2005-06, goal difference had the biggest ranking after total points. At the end of each season, the club with the most points is crowned as champions. The three lowest placed teams are relegated into the Cypriot Second Division and the top three teams from the 2nd Division promoted in their place.

The league champions are entitled to entrance in the UEFA Champions League in the second qualifying round. The winner of the Cypriot Cup automatically enters the UEFA Europa League third qualifying round. The runner-up and third placed team in the league enters the UEFA Europa League on the second qualifying round. If the cup winners are also league champions, then the losing cup finalists are granted a UEFA Europa League berth. If the cup winners qualify for Europe by their league position, then the fourth-placed team in the league qualifies for the UEFA Europa League second qualifying round.

The First Division has had 14 teams since the 1989-90 season, apart from the 1994-95 season when the league was reduced temporarily to 13 teams. For some years there has been discussion about reducing the number of teams in the first division. This is partly driven by some of the mid-table clubs not being involved for much of the season in either the Championship or qualification for Europe, or relegation.


Football was introduced to Cyprus early in the 20th century by the British. Initially played in the island's schools, it proved hugely popular and a number of clubs were duly formed.

Since 1911, when Anorthosis Famagusta FC was founded, many clubs were established and in 1932 the Cypriot Championship began annually at first unofficially. Every season, the championship was organized by a different football club which caused some conflicts between some of the teams.

As football became more established, the clubs were united in agreeing that an official body was needed to regulate the sport. And in September 1934, the Cyprus Football Association (CFA) was formed and the Cypriot Championship and Cup began to take place annually. The first Champions of Cyprus were Trast AC in 1935 but the club folded three years later. The 1930s were dominated by APOEL, who won five championship in a row until 1940. Like other Championships in the World, the Cypriot Championship was interrupted, due to World War II from 1941 until 1945.

World War II was followed by the Greek Civil War, which caused a lot of fanaticism between Greeks. Since the majority of the island are Greek Cypriots, it had a lot of influence in their society too, including sport. In 1948, some clubs were involved in politics and criticized the left-wing as responsible for the War. Several footballers from those clubs criticized their club but that followed the expulsion of those players from their teams. Those players then went on to help establish new clubs with their own Association and their own football competitions. Until 1953 there were two separate football Championships in Cyprus and two different Associations. However, in 1953, the two Associations unified Cypriot football, and the teams which were established in 1948 under the separate association, were allowed to become members of the CFA. Only AC Omonia was accepted into the First Division. And due to the addition of more clubs that season, relegation and promotion begun in Cypriot football.

The Cypriot Championship unification, lasted for only two seasons. In 1955, Çetinkaya Türk S.K., who had been the only Turkish Cypriot team playing in the Cypriot First Division since 1934-35, withdrew from the Championship and with other Turkish Cypriot teams, established the Cyprus Turkish Football Federation, with its own competitions. The reason behind this was political, as the Turkish Cypriot leadership were supporting the partition of the island. However, this Federation was never recognized and no team of that federation could play in international competitions.

The independence of Cyprus in 1960, was followed by full membership for the Cyprus Football Association to UEFA in 1962. From 1963, the champions of the Cyprus, could compete in the European Champions Cup and the Cup winners in the European Cup Winners Cup. Since 1971, the runners up in the Greek Cypriot First Division can compete in the UEFA Cup. From 1967 until 1974, the Greek Cypriot Champions were promoted to the Greek First National Division. Greek Cypriot teams were relegated every season from the Alpha Ethniki, apart from 1974, when APOEL managed to remain in the Greek Championship which meant that Cyprus would have two teams in Alpha Ethniki. However, due to the Turkish invasion of Cyprus that year, APOEL and AC Omonoia (the champion of Cyprus for 1974) withdrew from the League.

The Greek Cypriot championship was abandoned in the 1963-64 season due to the bicommunal conflicts between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots.

AC Omonia dominated the Greek Cypriot Championship in the 1970s and 1980s, winning 12 championship in 13 seasons. In 1976, Omonia player Sotiris Kaiafas was the top scorer not only in Cyprus but also in Europe with 39 goals winning the European Golden Boot. Anorthosis Famagusta dominated Cyprus football between 1995 and 2000, losing the championship during those years only once in 1996.

The last 10 years from 2001 until 2011 APOEL had been the most successful club by winning almost one championship every two years, counting 5 championship titles in total.


2011-12 Clubs

Club Location 2010-11 season
AEK Larnaca Larnaca 4th
AEL Limassol 8th
Alki Larnaca 11th
Anagennisi Dherynia Dherynia 2D 3rd
Anorthosis Larnaca 3rd
APOEL Nicosia 1st
Apollon Limassol Limassol 5th
Aris Limassol 2D 1st
Enosis Neon Paralimni Paralimni 7th
Ermis Aradippou Aradippou 10th
Ethnikos Achnas Achna 9th
Nea Salamis Larnaca 2D 2nd
Olympiakos Nicosia 6th
Omonia Nicosia 2nd


  • 1934/35-2006/07 Pancypriot Championship
  • 2007/08-present Marfin Laiki League
Season Winner
1934-35 Trast AC
1935-36 APOEL
1936-37 APOEL
1937-38 APOEL
1938-39 APOEL
1939-40 APOEL
1940-41 AEL Limassol
1941-44 League suspended due to World War II
1944-45 EPA Larnaca
1945-46 EPA Larnaca
1946-47 APOEL
1947-48 APOEL
1948-49 APOEL
1949-50 Anorthosis Famagusta
1950-51 Çetinkaya
1951-52 APOEL
1952-53 AEL Limassol
1953-54 Pezoporikos Larnaca
1954-55 AEL Limassol
1955-56 AEL Limassol
1956-57 Anorthosis Famagusta
1957-58 Anorthosis Famagusta
1958-59 not held
1959-60 Anorthosis Famagusta
1960-61 AC Omonoia
1961-62 Anorthosis Famagusta
1962-63 Anorthosis Famagusta
1963-64 championship abandoned
1964-65 APOEL
1965-66 AC Omonoia
1966-67 Olympiakos Nicosia
1967-68 AEL Limassol
1968-69 Olympiakos Nicosia
1969-70 EPA Larnaca
1970-71 Olympiakos Nicosia
1971-72 AC Omonoia
1972-73 APOEL
1973-74 AC Omonoia
1974-75 AC Omonoia
1975-76 AC Omonoia
1976-77 AC Omonoia
1977-78 AC Omonoia
1978-79 AC Omonoia
1979-80 APOEL
1980-81 AC Omonoia
1981-82 AC Omonoia
1982-83 AC Omonoia
1983-84 AC Omonoia
1984-85 AC Omonoia
1985-86 APOEL
1986-87 AC Omonoia
1987-88 Pezoporikos Larnaca
1988-89 AC Omonoia
1989-90 APOEL
1990-91 Apollon Limassol
1991-92 APOEL
1992-93 AC Omonoia
1993-94 Apollon Limassol
1994-95 Anorthosis Famagusta
1995-96 APOEL
1996-97 Anorthosis Famagusta
1997-98 Anorthosis Famagusta
1998-99 Anorthosis Famagusta
1999-00 Anorthosis Famagusta
2000-01 AC Omonoia
2001-02 APOEL
2002-03 AC Omonoia
2003-04 APOEL
2004-05 Anorthosis Famagusta
2005-06 Apollon Limassol
2006-07 APOEL
2007-08 Anorthosis Famagusta
2008-09 APOEL
2009-10 AC Omonoia
2010-11 APOEL

Performance by club

Club Winners Winning seasons
APOEL 21 1936, 1937, 1938, 1939, 1940, 1947, 1948, 1949, 1952, 1965, 1973, 1980, 1986, 1990, 1992, 1996, 2002, 2004, 2007, 2009, 2011
Omonia 20 1961, 1966, 1972, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1987, 1989, 1993, 2001, 2003, 2010
Anorthosis 13 1950, 1957, 1958, 1960, 1962, 1963, 1995, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2005, 2008
AEL Limassol 5 1941, 1953, 1955, 1956, 1968
Olympiakos 3 1967, 1969, 1971
Apollon Limassol 3 1991, 1994, 2006
EPA Larnaca 3 1945, 1946, 1970
Pezoporikos Larnaca 2 1954, 1988
Trast AC 1 1935
Çetinkaya Türk S.K. 1 1951

Top goalscorers

This is a list of the top goalscorers of Cyprus by season since 1960. [1]

Season Top scorer Club Goals
1960/61 Cyprus Panikos Krystallis Apollon Limassol 26
1961/62 Cyprus Michalis Shialis Anorthosis 22
1962/63 Cyprus Panikos Papadopoulos AEL Limassol 24
1963/64 Championship abandoned
1964/65 Cyprus Kostakis Pieridis Olympiakos Nicosia 21
1965/66 Cyprus Panikos Efthymiades Olympiakos Nicosia 20
1966/67 Cyprus Andreas Stylianou APOEL 29
1967/68 Cyprus Charalambos Papadopoulos AEL Limassol 31
1968/69 Cyprus Panikos Efthymiades Olympiakos Nicosia 17
1969/70 Cyprus Tasos Constantinou EPA Larnaca 24
1970/71 Cyprus Andreas Stylianou
Cyprus Kostas Vasiliades
Cyprus Panikos Efthymiades
Apollon Limassol
Olympiakos Nicosia
1971/72 Cyprus Sotiris Kaiafas Omonia 24
1972/73 Cyprus Lakis Theodorou EPA Larnaca 17
1973/74 Cyprus Sotiris Kaiafas Omonia 20
1974/75 Cyprus Andros Savva Omonia 21
1975/76 Cyprus Sotiris Kaiafas Omonia 39
1976/77 Cyprus Sotiris Kaiafas Omonia 44
1977/78 Cyprus Andreas Kanaris Omonia 20
1978/79 Cyprus Sotiris Kaiafas Omonia 28
1979/80 Cyprus Sotiris Kaiafas Omonia 23
1980/81 Cyprus Sotiris Kaiafas Omonia 14
1981/82 Cyprus Sotiris Kaiafas Omonia 19
1982/83 Cyprus Panikos Hatziloizou Aris Limassol 17
1983/84 Cyprus Sylvester Vernon
Cyprus Lenos Kittos
Ermis Aradippou
1984/85 Cyprus Giorgos Savvidis Omonia 24
1985/86 Cyprus Yiannos Ioannou APOEL 22
1986/87 Bulgaria Spas Dzhevizov Omonia 32
1987/88 Cyprus Tasos Zouvanis E.N. Paralimni 23
1988/89 England Nigel McNeal Nea Salamis Famagusta 19
1989/90 Serbia Cyprus Siniša Gogić APOEL 19
1990/91 Bosnia and Herzegovina Suad Beširević
Cyprus Panikos Xiourouppas
Apollon Limassol
1991/92 Hungary József Dzurják Omonia 21
1992/93 Serbia Slađan Šćepović Apollon Limassol 25
1993/94 Serbia Cyprus Siniša Gogić Anorthosis 26
1994/95 Cyprus Pambis Andreou Nea Salamis Famagusta 25
1995/96 Hungary József Kiprich APOEL 25
1996/97 Cyprus Michalis Konstantinou E.N. Paralimni 17
1997/98 Germany Cyprus Rainer Rauffmann Omonia 42
1998/99 Germany Cyprus Rainer Rauffmann Omonia 35
1999/00 Germany Cyprus Rainer Rauffmann Omonia 34
2000/01 Germany Cyprus Rainer Rauffmann Omonia 30
2001/02 Poland Wojciech Kowalczyk Anorthosis 22
2002/03 Cyprus Marios Neophytou Anorthosis 33
2003/04 Poland Łukasz Sosin
Slovakia Jozef Kožlej
Apollon Limassol
2004/05 Poland Łukasz Sosin Apollon Limassol 21
2005/06 Poland Łukasz Sosin Apollon Limassol 28
2006/07 Argentina Esteban Solari APOEL 20
2007/08 Brazil David
Poland Łukasz Sosin
Doxa Katokopia
2008/09 Brazil Serjão Doxa Katokopia 24
2009/10 Brazil Joeano
Cape Verde José Semedo
Ermis Aradippou
APOP Kinyras
2010/11 Serbia Miljan Mrdaković Apollon Limassol 21

Notable foreign players

Albania Albania
Argentina Argentina
Armenia Armenia
Australia Australia
Belgium Belgium
Brazil Brazil
Bulgaria Bulgaria
Bosnia and Herzegovina Bosnia and Herzegovina
Colombia Colombia
Costa Rica Costa Rica
Czech Republic Czech Republic
France France
Egypt Egypt
Hungary Hungary
Georgia (country) Georgia
Germany Germany
Ghana Ghana
Greece Greece
Israel Israel
Iran Iran
Iraq Iraq
Kazakhstan Kazakhstan
Latvia Latvia
Lithuania Lithuania
Republic of Macedonia Macedonia
Mali Mali
Malta Malta
Montenegro Montenegro
Netherlands Netherlands
Nigeria Nigeria
Northern Ireland Northern Ireland
Poland Poland
Portugal Portugal
Qatar Qatar
Romania Romania
Russia Russia
Rwanda Rwanda
Scotland Scotland
Serbia Serbia
Senegal Senegal
Slovakia Slovakia
Slovenia Slovenia
Spain Spain
Togo Togo
Tunisia Tunisia
Ukraine Ukraine
Uruguay Uruguay
Venezuela Venezuela

Notable former foreign managers


  1. ^ "Cyprus - List of Topscorers". 2008-05-09. Retrieved 2008-05-09. 

External links

See also

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