Friday 19 June 2020, 07:10

Chilean Football Federation celebrates 125 years

  • Origins of Chilean FA date back to 19 June 1895

  • It is the second oldest national federation in South America

  • Also among the ten oldest in the world

On the 125th anniversary of its foundation, takes a look back at the historic milestones of the Chilean Football Federation.


The first organisation to oversee Chilean football was the Football Association of Chile (FAC) founded on 19 June 1895 at the Cafe Pacifico in Valparaiso, a city located on the country’s Pacific coast some 100 kilometres from the capital Santiago.

The FAC then created the Asociacion de Football de Chile, which secured the country provisional FIFA affiliation in 1913 followed by permanent status a year later.

In 1916, it became one of founding members of the South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL), together with the national associations of Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay.

In 1923, a new organisation, the Federacion de Futbol de Chile emerged in Santiago seeking to take over the organisation of football in the country. Its subsequent dispute with the FAC culminated in FIFA revoking Chile’s membership in 1925.

In January 1926, the Asociacion de Football de Chile merged with the Federacion de Futbol de Chile after agreeing to maintain the latter name and base itself in Valparaiso. The governing body would eventually relocate to Santiago in April 1929.

Its current president is Sebastian Moreno.

Men's football

Across the length and breadth of Chile, and even on its Easter Island territory, no sport evokes as much passion as football, whatever the level.

Between 1916 and 1954, the country hosted South America’s national team championship, the Copa America, five times, before becoming the third South American country to host the FIFA World Cup™ in 1962.

In what was their third World Cup appearance, La Roja took third place on home soil for what is still their best finish at the global showpiece. Since then, they have participated in six other editions, reaching the Round of 16 in each of their last three appearances (1998, 2010 and 2014).

The country has also hosted two other FIFA men's tournaments: the FIFA World Youth Championship in 1987 and the FIFA U-17 World Cup™ in 2015.

The team’s proudest achievements came courtesy of the so-called Golden Generation, who lifted the 2015 Copa America on home soil, followed by the Copa America Centenario a year later.

In addition, La Roja took home a bronze medal from the 2000 Sydney Olympics and finished runners-ups at the FIFA Confederations Cup in 2017.

At club level, Colo Colo remain the only Chilean side to have won the continent’s premier club competition, the Copa Libertadores de America, while Universidad Catolica and Universidad de Chile also stand out on the national scene.

Claudio Bravo of Chile lifts the trophy after winning the 2015 Copa America Chile Final

Women's football

The FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup Chile 2008™ was the first FIFA competition for women organised in South America, serving as a platform for the development of the women’s game in the country.

That same year, the inaugural edition of Chile’s First Division Championship took place. The tournament currently features 14 sides, including teams from the biggest clubs, in a pioneering format that combines adult and U-17 categories.

Since 2019, there has also been a Second Division Championship, which again features two age categories, further demonstrating the importance the country places on developing the youth categories of women’s football.

As in the men’s game, Colo Colo are thus far the only Chilean club to win the prestigious Copa Libertadores Femenina.

The senior women's national team is currently enjoying a spell of unprecedented success after finishing runners-up at the 2018 Copa America and then gracing the FIFA Women’s World Cup™ for the first time at France 2019.

Despite failing to progress beyond the group stage in France, La Roja recorded their maiden win at a World Cup in defeating Thailand 2-0.

Memorable exponents

Sergio Livingstone, Francisco Valdes, Leonel Sanchez (joint Golden Boot winner at Chile 1962) and Carlos Caszely are just some of those who put Chilean football on the map, even if none of them achieved the worldwide recognition of Elias Figueroa.

Don Elias played at three World Cups, although it was his performances at the 1966 and 1974 finals that brought him widespread recognition as the best South American defender of all time. Indeed, no less a figure than Pele has said that the Chilean was among the best in the world.

Decades later, strikers Ivan Zamorano and Marcelo Salas would also achieve global acclaim, paving the way for other Chileans to follow them to Europe.

The latter pair were the trailblazers for the recent Golden Generation that includes the likes of Claudio Bravo, Gary Medel, Arturo Vidal and Alexis Sanchez, who were instrumental in the country’s only two Copa America titles.

As well as the contribution of Argentinian coaches Marcelo Bielsa, Jorge Sampaoli and Juan Pizzi in those continental triumphs, the work of former Chilean coaches, such as Fernando Riera, Luis Alamos and Nelson Acosta, cannot be overlooked.

Among the women, while there were early pioneers such as Ada Cruz or Cecilia Bravo, the only player to have achieved widespread international recognition to date is goalkeeper Christiane Endler.

The national team custodian is the figurehead of the country’s best crop of women’s players, among which Karen Araya and Yanara Aedo, among others, stand out.

Football Gallery

The national stadium

The Estadio Nacional Julio Martinez Pradanos was inaugurated in 1938 and has been the home of the Chilean national team since 1939.

The venue staged ten matches at the 1962 World Cup, including Chile’s semi-final clash with Brazil and the match for third place against Yugoslavia.

It also hosted the final of the World Youth Championship in 1987 and the opening day fixtures of the U-17 World Cup in 2015.

As well as staging numerous World Cup qualifying games, the stadium has also hosted more Copa America fixtures than any other venue.

And it was at the Estadio Nacional that Chile defeated Argentina on penalties in the final of the 2015 edition to win Chile’s first major international tournament.

Aerial view of National Stadium Julio Martinez Pradanos