Founded in 1934, the Cypriot First Division is a league with a rich history having gone through a host of changes since its inception.
The Cypriot top-flight at the moment is officially known as the Cyta Championship, for sponsorship reasons.
Football was originally introduced to the mediterranean country by the British back in the 20th century and since then, the sport has become a key part of everyday life in Cypriot with tons of Cyprus nationals boasting of a keen interest in football.
The league is contested by 12 teams and like many European leagues, runs from August to May.
With the league being made up of 12 clubs, each club plays against each other twice, one home game and one away game, resulting in a total of 22 games for each club.
The Cypriot first Division underwent some structural changes going into the 2017/18 season that are currently in effect.
The Cyrpiot first division format is somewhat different from what you’d find across Europe. There are two rounds in a season
The first round determines what teams get relegated (the bottom two), while in the second round, the top six teams play off for the league title and European spots.
Also, in the second round, the teams ranked 7-12 face each other to avoid a final relegation spot.
At the end of the season, the league champions secure automatic qualification for the Champions League while the 2nd and 3rd placed teams qualify for the Europa League.
If the cup winners secure a European place in the league, then the 4th-placed team will be awarded with qualification to the Europa League.
Clubs are allowed to register a maximum of 25 players for a season – it’s worth noting that players aged 21 and under do not count towards the squad registration limit.
Also, 10 of the registered 25 players must have been registered with a Cypriot club before they turned 18 in a bid for clubs to successfully register a squad for a season in the Cypriot First Division.
There are no specific foreign player restrictions in the Cypriot First Division (as long as club meet the squad registration rules with regards to registering 10 homegrown players) except the fact that Cyproit clubs must field a minimum of two Cypriot players each game or risk receiving a €1,500 fine from the Cyprus Football Association.
Big teams however, tend to overlook the rule and instead opt to pay the fine in a bid to field what they deem to be their best 11, and as a result, the Cypriot First Division is heavily dominated by foreigners – a fact which has resulted in the lack of development of young Cyproit players.
The average salary in the Cypriot First Division sits at approximately €60,000 per year.
Value of Teams
The 12 teams in the Cypriot First Division have a total market value of €114m.
Most Valuable Player
Photo of Musa Al-Tamari
Valued at €1,6m, Apoel Nicosia’s Musa Al-Tamari is the most valuable player in the Cypriot First Division.
The League’s biggest transfer is Apollon Limassol’s acquisition of a then-16-year-old Cristian Menea for €2.5m in the 2014/15 season.
Number of teams: 12
Domestic cup: Cypriot Cup
International Cup: UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League
Level on the pyramid: 1
Transfer window: June 1 – August 31, January 1 – January 31
Number of Players: 322
Number of Foreign Players: 198
Percentage of Foreign Players: 61.5%
Most Championships: APOEL Nicosia
Average Attendance: 2,740
- AEK Larnakas (http://www.aek.com.cy/home)
- AEL Limassol (http://www.ael-fc.com/)
- Anorthosis Ammochostou (http://www.anorthosisfc.com.cy/)
- APOEL Nicosia (http://www.apoelfc.com.cy/)
- Apollon Limassol (http://www.apollon.com.cy/)
- Doxa Katokopias (http://doxafc.com.cy/)
- EN Paralimniou (www.enparalimniou.com)
- Ethnikos Achnas (https://www.ethnikosachnasfc.com/mainpage)
- Nea Salamis Ammochostou (http://neasalamina.com/)
- Olympiakos Lefkosias (http://olympiakos.com.cy/)
- Omonia Lefkosias (https://www.omonoiafc.com.cy/)
- Pafos FC (http://www.pafosfc.com.cy/)
Famous Player to have played in the Cypriot First Division: Real Madrid’s Luka Jovic plied his trade in the Cypriot First Division before moving on to Benfica in 2015.
Fieldoo’s Opinion; The Cypriot First Division is a great league for players to make a name for themselves, especially considering the amount of foreign players who are signed every season.
Photo of the Nicosia derby
The Nicosia derby (or the derby of the eternal enemies) refers to Nicosia‘s local derby, football matches played between APOEL FC and AC Omonia. It is the classic rivalry of Cypriot football, as the two teams are the most successful and most popular football clubs of the island. The rivalry is also indicative of social, cultural and political differences