The 2020 Apertura hasn’t come to its conclusion, but being that I’m petty and a Morado through and through, I couldn’t give two shits. It’s time to focus on the 2021 Clausura.
I kid. I kid.
Alajuelense and Herediano will be a captivating final. Bryan Ruiz has the opportunity to finally deliver La 30 to Alajuela after seven years of comical failure. It has the potential to be the story-book ending the club has long-awaited.
Blah. Blah. Blah.
So, back to 2021. UNAFUT announced the competitive format for next season. After a COVID-induced change, Costa Rica will revert to its standard 22-week calendar. The league will no longer be split into two groups. All 12 clubs return to the single table and play each other home and away.
The top four clubs qualify for the playoffs, with a standard semifinals bracket being created (1v4 and 2v3). The winners meet in a two-legged final, but this is the sad part:
The Gran Final will no longer be in play.
The winner of the playoff will be crowned the outright champion, even if it didn’t finish atop the table after 22 weeks.
Relegation will be determined in a quirky manner, to say the least.
Sporting FC lost the relegation playoff to Grecia this season. Both clubs finished at the bottom of their respective groups, forcing them into the tie. Sporting lost 2-1 on aggregate. Alberth Villalobos scored the winner in the second leg to keep Grecia safe…for now.
Grecia and the rest of the league gets a hard reset, but the team with the fewest points at the end of the 2021 Clausura will face Sporting in another relegation playoff. Except for this time, the loser really goes home.
It should be noted that Grecia finished with a league-low 10 points in 2020.
I really fucked up on my assessment of that roster. Woof.
A full calendar for the 2021 Clausura is expected to be released in the coming days. It can’t afford to pass that deadline given that the season starts Jan. 13.
Yeah…Jan. 13. Less than a month from now.
You can read the official release in full below.