|Current season or competition:|
Copa Peru 2008
|No. of teams||undetermined amount|
| Most recent|
|Sport Huancayo (2008)|
The Copa Perú is a football tournament in Peru. Despite its name, it is not entirely an elimination cup competition, but rather a series of league tournaments done within a year whose ultimate level is an elimination round and thus guarantees its winner promotion to the First Division and its runner-up promotion to the Second Division.
In 1966, the First Division was named Descentralizado; this was due to the fact that for the first time, teams from outside of the capital Lima were allowed to participate in the main league for the first time. The following year, the Copa Perú began, where all non-professional teams in Peru were allowed to compete in to hopefully gain entry in the first division. After playing many eliminatory rounds, once six teams were left in the competition, they play in a final round-robin tournament in Lima.
In 1984, the First Division grew from 16 to 44 teams: after the first stage of the season, a Regional Championship qualified the teams for the Decentralizado, with 16 to 18 teams. The Copa Perú only qualified teams for the Regional competition. Following this the tournament declined and in 1987 was the last year in which a final was contested. The competitions was suspended as a result of the lack of interest and general economic crisis going on during President Alan García's first term. In 1992 the First Division returned to its normal format (16 teams), So in 1993 the Copa Perú returned as a Second Division but only for teams outside of Lima. Since 1993 there has also been a Second Division for teams competing from Lima.
In 1998, a major change took place: eight teams from the regional stage qualified for the Finals stage. This was played as a traditional cup tournament with home and away legs being played. The winner being the team who gains promotion to the First Division. In 2004, the tournament widened to 16 teams so that teams from Lima could also compete and the winner and runner-up of the Second Division played in the Round of 16 of the Copa Peru. However, in 2006 this format was abolished as now the winner of the Second Division is promoted to the First Division. In 2008, the National Stage was modified. The four teams that qualify for the semi-finals will play in a final group stage and the top two will be promoted to the first division.
The first stage of the tournament is the District Stage which is played between February and May. Districts hold a small league tournament to determine its winners which will qualify for the next stage. The second stage is the Provincial Stage which is played between June and July. The District winners play in groups and the winners qualify for the Departmental Stage. Another league tournament, between July and September, is played between the qualified teams which narrows down the tournament to two teams per department and four teams from Lima. These teams play in the Regional Stage which takes place between September and October.
In the Regional Stage there are eight regions. This stage narrows the tournament to 16 teams which will play two knockout rounds and the semifinalists will conclude the tournament with a group stage in Lima. The top two will qualify for the First Division.
Football in Peru