Spanish football league system

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The Spanish football league system refers to the system in Spanish club football that consists of several football leagues bound together hierarchically by promotion and relegation. Unlike in most other European nations, Spanish football allows reserve teams to compete in the main football league system; however reserve teams are not allowed to compete in the same tier as their senior team, and no reserve team has thus competed in the top flight, Primera División.

Men[edit]

Primera División[edit]

The Primera Division is the highest level in the Spanish football league system and is operated by the LFP.

Segunda División[edit]

The Segunda Division is the second highest level in the Spanish football league system and is also operated by the LFP.

Segunda División B[edit]

The Segunda Division B is the third highest level in the Spanish football league system and is operated by the Royal Spanish Football Federation.

Tercera División[edit]

The Tercera Division is the fourth highest level in the Spanish football league system and is operated by the Royal Spanish Football Federation and 17 regional federations.

Lower divisions[edit]

Starting at Level 5, each of the 19 regional federations of RFEF run their regional league pyramid under their own jurisdiction.

Level

League(s)/Division(s)

1

Primera División
(Liga BBVA)
20 clubs

2

Segunda División
(Liga Adelante)
22 clubs

3

Segunda División B Group 1
20 clubs

Segunda División B Group 2
20 clubs

Segunda División B Group 3
20 clubs

Segunda División B Group 4
20 clubs

4

Tercera División Group 1 20 clubs
Tercera División Group 2 20 clubs
Tercera División Group 3 20 clubs
Tercera División Group 4 20 clubs
Tercera División Group 5 20 clubs
Tercera División Group 6 20 clubs
Tercera División Group 7 20 clubs
Tercera División Group 8 20 clubs
Tercera División Group 9 20 clubs
Tercera División Group 10 22 clubs
Tercera División Group 11 20 clubs
Tercera División Group 12 20 clubs
Tercera División Group 13 18 clubs
Tercera División Group 14 20 clubs
Tercera División Group 15 20 clubs
Tercera División Group 16 20 clubs
Tercera División Group 17 20 clubs
Tercera División Group 18 20 clubs

5

1st Regional Division

6

2nd Regional Division

7

3rd Regional Division

8

4th Regional Division

9

5th Regional Division

Evolution of the Spanish league system[edit]

Tier\Years 1929 1929–34 1934–36 1936–39 1939–40 1940–43 1943–77 1977–current
1 Primera División Civil War Primera División**
2 Segunda División Group A Segunda División Segunda División
3 Segunda División Group B 3ª División None* None* (playoff)
known as 3ª División
3ª División Segunda División B
4 None* None* Lower Lower Tercera División
5 Lower
6
7
8
9

* From 1929 to 1940 the Spanish pyramid was similar to the Brazilian system, two simultaneous and independent pyramids, the national pyramid, and the regional pyramid.

**The Primera and Segunda was founded by the Royal Spanish Football Association, but since 1984 is now operated by the LFP. Since 2008 the Primera División is commonly known as Liga BBVA and the Segunda División is commonly known as Liga Adelante for sponsorship reasons.

Women[edit]

The women's top league was renamed for the 2011–12 season and expanded to 20 teams. The second level league also got renamed and was expanded to seven groups.

Level

League

1

Primera División
(20 teams)

2

Segunda División
(7 groups, 14 teams each)

3

Regional leagues

Youth[edit]

Level

League

1

División de Honor
(7 groups)

2

Liga Nacional Juvenil
(21 groups)

3

Divisiones regionales