Tiers – Primera División & Segunda División.
Cup Competitions – None.
Other Competitions – Liguilla.
Considered by many to be third most important league in South America, Uruguay lacks some of the glamour of football in Brazil and Argentina, but the standard of football isn’t too far behind (at least in Football Manager). Generally speaking the players may be a little less technically gifted than the other two nations mentioned but this is compensated by a slightly more athletic player (better physical attributes).
The Primera División season is split into two halves, the Opening (runs from mid-August to mid-December) and the Closing (runs from mid-February to mid-June) periods, both of which follow the same set of rules. The division consists of sixteen teams who play each other once during each period to make a thirty game season. Squads for matches must contain no more than three foreign players and any three of the seven named substitutes may take to the field.
The transfer windows in Uruguay are only open outside of the actual match playing phase (1st of July to two days before the kick-off of the Opening phase and 1st of January to two days before the kick-off of the Closing phase) so it’s important to make sure that you’re happy with your squad as you’re going to be unable to improve it over the course of the following fifteen matches. In terms of transfer rules the only restriction faced by Uruguayan clubs is a maximum of five loan signings in any one season.
Points are awarded in the standard manner (three for a win, one for a draw) with tied teams being separated by the following criteria:
* Goal difference
* Goals scored
* Head to head results
The winners of both the Opening and Closing stages take part in a two-legged play-off to determine who is deemed the Champions of Uruguay (just to make things a little more complex, in the unlikely event that neither of these clubs tops the overall league table, the winner of this play-off match will face a further two-legged decider against the team that did finish top of the combined table).
At the end of the season the bottom-three teams (after Opening and Closing stage results are added together) are relegated to the Segunda División.
Players who receive a red card face an automatic one match ban, as do players accumulating five yellow cards.
The Segunda División follows the rules of the Primera División very closely; indeed the only real difference is that the Closing period starts a month earlier than in the higher division in order to allow time for the promotion play-offs to fit within the mid-June season close down.
Achieving promotion from the Segunda División is something of a lottery with clubs having three chances to claim one of the available places. The first, and only automatic place, is awarded to whichever team finishes top of the overall league table. The second promotion place is awarded to the winner of a play-off between the teams which finished top of the Opening and Closing stages. However, given that one of these clubs probably finished top of the combined table, this match is usually contested by the club finishing first in one of the periods and the team finishing second (or third in the event that the team finishing second has already been promoted or qualified for the play-off match) in the opposing period. The third and final promotion place is awarded to the winner of a play-off tournament between any remaining period winners and the clubs with the best overall records. Four teams play in these play-offs which take the form of two-legged knock-out ties (i.e. a semi-final and then final).
Relegation, on the other hand, is a simple affair with the bottom two clubs from the overall league table losing their Segunda División status.
The Liguilla (or Pre-Libertadores Liguilla) is a tournament used to determine Uruguay’s Copa Libertadores entrants. At the end of the Primera División season the teams occupying the top-six places in the overall table qualify for the Liguilla where they will play each other one more time. Qualification from the group for the Copa Libertadores depends on the number of entrants that Uruguay is allowed (there are three for the 2006/07 season). Standard Uruguayan league rules apply in Liguilla.