THE Cyprus Football Association (CFA) decided on Thursday to increase the number of teams competing in the top division from 12 to 14, starting from the next season.
The new regime of 14 teams will apply for the 2015-2016, 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 football seasons. Thereafter, for the following three seasons, there will be a return to the current system of 12 teams.
For the period 2015-2018, the second phase of the league championship will see the teams split up into two groups of six.
Following the completion of the first phase, the two bottom teams in each group will be automatically relegated to the second division. Once the second phase ends, the last-ranked team from the second group will also be relegated.
The decision reflects a compromise. Small clubs wanted to imminently increase the number of slots available in the top league so that more teams can reap the financial benefits of television coverage, but the bigger clubs maintain that fewer teams will mean more games between strong opponents, leading to greater spectator interest.