|Organising body||Lega B|
(pilot in 1926)
|Number of teams||20|
|Level on pyramid||2|
|Promotion to||Serie A|
|Relegation to||Serie C|
|Domestic cup(s)||Coppa Italia|
|International cup(s)||UEFA Europa League|
(via winning Coppa Italia)
|Current champions||Empoli (3rd title) |
(6 titles each)
|Most appearances||Luigi Cagni (483)|
|Top goalscorer||Stefan Schwoch (135)|
|TV partners||Sky Sport|
|Current: 2021–22 Serie B|
Serie B (Italian pronunciation: [ˈsɛːrje ˈbi]), currently named Serie BKT for sponsorship reasons, is the second-highest division in the Italian football league system after the Serie A. It has been operating for over ninety years since the 1929–30 season. It had been organized by Lega Calcio until 2010, when the Lega Serie B was created for the 2010–11 season. Common nicknames for the league are campionato cadetto and cadetteria, since cadetto is the Italian name for junior or cadet.
A junior football championship was created at first in Italy in 1904, after seven editions of the major tournament of FIGC: it was called Second Category, and was composed both by senior squads of town clubs and by youth teams of city clubs. If the first ones won the championship, they would be promoted to First Category, which consequently improved in size: the first team to reach the honour, was Pro Vercelli in 1907, which even won the scudetto in 1908. FIGC attempted many times to introduce relegations on the contrary, but the reform was really adopted only in 1921 by the secessionist CCI in its Northern League, which consisted of a First Division and a Second Division: the first teams to be relegated were AC Vicenza and FC Inter even if, after the reunion with FIGC, the regulations were changed, and Venezia was demoted instead of the Milanese club. Even if part of the same league, differently from First Division, Second Division was based on local group with proximity criteria. Only in 1928 was the big reform conceived by FIGC president Leandro Arpinati: after a year, a new second division based on the same national format of the major tournament would be born. Serie B began in 1929 with 18 clubs and continued until World War II, after which it was divided again between the northern and the southern part of the country in the aftermath of the war. The championship became national again in 1948, and for many years in the second half of the 20th century, it was played by 20 clubs. In 2003–04, a single group of 24 teams was formed, the largest in the history of all levels of the Italian championship. After 2004, a 22-team format was introduced together with playoffs.
After Serie A split with Serie B to form Lega Serie A, Lega Serie B was formed on 7 July 2010. The league signed a new sponsor bwin for 2010–11 and 2011–12 seasons; changed the league name from Serie B TIM to Serie Bwin. The League changed again its name in Serie B ConTe.it due to sponsorship reasons.
Serie B introduced the "green card" at the beginning of the 2015–16 season. The green card is given to promote fair play and good acts. The green card will not be given during the game, as it would alter sport rules, but awarded after the match to a player or coach who exhibited fair play by the referee. The player or coach with the highest number of green cards at the end of the season will be rewarded.
Format, promotion and relegation
At the end of the season, three teams are promoted to Serie A and four teams are relegated to Serie C. The top two teams are automatically promoted. If the 3rd-placed team is 10 or more points ahead of the 4th-placed team, it is automatically promoted too, otherwise, a playoff tournament determines the third team that will be ascending. In the 2013–14 season, anywhere between two and six teams within a "playoff margin" of 14 points from the 3rd-placed team will enter the playoff tournament. Under the new playoff format, up to three rounds may be required. The final two rounds are two-legged ties while opening round matches (if required) are single legs hosted by the higher-ranked team. If a tie is drawn at the end of regular play (one or two matches, depending on the round), extra time is played. If the two teams are still tied after thirty minutes, the higher classified team advances.
In the relegation zone, the three last-placed teams (18th, 19th and 20th) are automatically demoted to Serie C. If the 16th-placed team is 5 or more points ahead of the 17th-placed team, then the 17th-placed team becomes the 4th and final team to be demoted, otherwise, the conditions for a playoff more commonly called playout exist.
If the playout is necessary, the 16th and 17th-placed teams are paired in a two-legged series with home-field advantage in the 2nd leg going to the 16th-placed team. The team with the higher aggregate score remains in Serie B while the loser becomes the fourth team relegated to Serie C. If an aggregate tie exists at the end of regulation play of the 2nd leg, the 16th-placed team is saved, and the 17th-placed team is demoted, unless the two teams ended the season with equal points, in which case there will be extra-time and a penalty shoot-out if still tied.
Below is a complete record of how many teams played in each season throughout the league's history;
- 18 clubs: 1929–1933
- 26 clubs (in two groups): 1933–1934
- 32 clubs (in two groups): 1934–1935
- 18 clubs: 1935–1936
- 16 clubs: 1936–1937
- 17 clubs: 1937–1938
- 18 clubs: 1938–1943
- 60 clubs (in three groups): 1946–1947
- 54 clubs (in three groups): 1947–1948
- 22 clubs: 1948–1950
- 21 clubs: 1950–1951
- 22 clubs: 1951–1952
- 18 clubs: 1952–1958
- 20 clubs: 1958–1967
- 21 clubs: 1967–1968
- 20 clubs: 1968–2003
- 24 clubs: 2003–2004
- 22 clubs: 2004–2018
- 19 clubs: 2018–2019
- 20 clubs: 2019–
Serie B was composed of 20 teams until the 2002–03 season. It was enlarged to 24 teams for the 2003–04 season due to legal problems relating to Calcio Catania relegation. The league reverted to 22 teams for the 2004–05 season, while Serie A expanded from 18 to 20 teams.
During the regular season, each team plays 38 games – two games against every opponent. In Italian football, a true round-robin format is used. In the first half of the season, called andata, each team plays once against all its opponents, a total of 19 games. In the second half of the season, called ritorno, each team will play the same teams in exactly the same order, the only difference being that a home game played in the first half will be an away game with that same team in the second half, and vice versa.
Since the 2006–07 season, the Serie B champion is awarded the cup Ali della Vittoria (Wings of Victory). The trophy is 63 cm high and weighs 5 kg. Its structure represents the wings of the goddess Nike, the goddess of victory, holding a cup similar to an Olympic flame.
Seasons in Serie B
This is the complete list of the 140 clubs that have taken part in the 89 Serie B seasons played from the 1929–30 season until the 2021–22 season.[a] The teams in bold compete in Serie B in the 2021–22 season.
- 63 seasons: Brescia
- 53 seasons: Verona
- 50 seasons: Modena
- 46 seasons: Bari
- 44 seasons: Palermo
- 40 seasons: Monza
- 39 seasons: Pescara
- 38 seasons: Padova
- 37 seasons: Venezia, Vicenza
- 36 seasons: Como, Pisa
- 34 seasons: Catania, Novara, Reggiana
- 33 seasons: Genoa
- 32 seasons: Cesena, Messina
- 31 seasons: Cremonese, Taranto
- 30 seasons: Salernitana
- 29 seasons: Cagliari, Lecce
- 28 seasons: Atalanta, Catanzaro, Parma, Perugia, Ternana
- 27 seasons: Livorno, Spezia
- 25 seasons: Ascoli, Foggia
- 24 seasons: Reggina
- 23 seasons: SPAL
- 22 seasons: Cosenza, Empoli, Triestina
- 21 seasons: Alessandria, Ancona, Sambenedettese, Varese
- 19 seasons: Avellino, Lucchese, Pistoiese
- 18 seasons: Piacenza, Udinese
- 16 seasons: Arezzo, Treviso
- 11(+5) seasons: Sampdoria
- 15 seasons: Crotone, Cittadella
- 14 seasons: Legnano, Mantova
- 13 seasons: Pro Patria, Pro Vercelli, Siena
- 12 seasons: Bologna, Fanfulla, Napoli, Torino
- 11 seasons: Chievo, Frosinone, Lazio, Lecco, Vigevano
- 10 seasons: Marzotto, Prato
- 9 seasons: AlbinoLeffe, Rimini
- 7 seasons: Ravenna, Siracusa
- 6 seasons: Brindisi, Fidelis Andria, Grosseto, Seregno, Viareggio, Virtus Entella
- 5 seasons: Campobasso, Carpi, Fiorentina, Juve Stabia, Potenza, Sassuolo, Savona, Trapani
- 4 seasons: Barletta, Benevento, Casale, Latina, Monfalcone, Pavia, Pro Sesto, Virtus Lanciano
- 3 seasons: Cavese, Derthona, Grion Pola, L'Aquila, Nocerina, Piombino, Pordenone, Sanremese, Savoia
- 2 seasons: Acireale, Biellese, Carrarese, Casertana, Castel di Sangro, Crema, Fiumana, Gallaratese, Gubbio, Licata, Milan, Pro Gorizia, Rieti, Scafatese, Suzzara, Trani, Vogherese
- 1 season: Alba Trastevere, Alzano Virescit, Arsenale Taranto, Bolzano, Centese, Fermana, Forlì, Gallipoli, Juventus, Maceratese, Magenta, Massese, M.A.T.E.R., Matera, Mestrina, Molinella, Portogruaro, Roma, Sestrese, Sorrento, Vita Nova
The Serie B-C Alta Italia post-war championship
This championship was organized by geographical criteria with only Northern Italy Serie B and the best Northern Italy Serie C teams taking part. Southern Italy Serie B teams took part to 1945–46 Serie A. For this reason, this championship is not included in the statistics.
- Alessandria – Alessandria
- Ausonia Spezia – La Spezia
- Biellese – Biella
- Casale – Casale Monferrato
- Cesena – Cesena
- Como – Como
- Crema – Crema
- Cremonese – Cremona
- Cuneo – Cuneo
- Fanfulla – Lodi
- Forlì – Forlì
- Gallaratese – Gallarate
- Lecco – Lecco
- Legnano – Legnano
- Mantova – Mantua
- Novara – Novara
- Padova – Padua
- Panigale – Bologna
- Parma – Parma
- Piacenza – Piacenza
- Pro Gorizia – Gorizia
- Pro Patria – Busto Arsizio
- Pro Sesto – Sesto San Giovanni
- Pro Vercelli – Vercelli
- Reggiana – Reggio Emilia
- Savona – Savona
- Seregno – Seregno
- Sestrese – Genoa
- SPAL – Ferrara
- Suzzara – Suzzara
- Trento – Trento
- Treviso – Treviso
- Udinese – Udine
- Verona – Verona
- Vigevano – Vigevano
- Vogherese – Voghera
Champions and promotions
a Not promoted for Serie A reduction.
b Modena and Novara were both awarded champions in 1937-38.
c Six teams were promoted in 2003–04 due to the expansion of Serie A from 18 to 20 teams.
Performance by club
Updated as of 2020–21 season
|Atalanta||6||3||1928, 1940, 1959, 1984, 2006, 2011|
|Genoa||6||1||1935, 1953, 1962, 1973, 1976, 1989|
|Palermo||5||2||1932, 1948, 1968, 2004, 2014|
|Bari||4||6||1935, 1942, 1946, 2009|
|Brescia||4||6||1965, 1992, 1997, 2019|
|Hellas Verona||3||5||1957, 1982, 1999|
|Como||3||2||1949, 1980, 2002|
|Torino||3||2||1960, 1990, 2001|
|Varese||3||1||1964, 1970, 1974|
|Vicenza||3||1||1955, 1977, 2000|
|Fiorentina||3||–||1931, 1939, 1994|
|Novara||3||3||1927, 1938, 1948|
|Empoli||3||1||2005, 2018, 2021|
Titles by region
Updated as of 2020–21 season
|Region||Titles||Winning club(s) (titles)|
|Lombardia||20||Atalanta (6), Brescia (4), Como (3), Varese (3), Milan (2), Mantova (1), Pro Patria (1)|
|Toscana||12||Empoli (3), Fiorentina (3), Livorno (2), Lucchese (2), Pisa (1), Siena (1)|
|Veneto||10||Verona (3), Vicenza (3), Venezia (2), Chievo (1), Padova (1)|
|Liguria||9||Genoa (6), Liguria (1), Sampdoria (1), Sampierdarenese (1), Spezia (1)|
|Emilia-Romagna||9||Bologna (2), SPAL (2), Carpi (1), Modena (1), Piacenza (1), Reggiana (1), Sassuolo (1)|
|Piemonte||8||Torino (3), Novara (3), Alessandria (1), Casale (1), Juventus (1)|
|Sicilia||7||Palermo (5), Catania (1), Messina (1)|
|Puglia||6||Bari (4), Foggia (1), Lecce (1)|
|Campania||5||Salernitana (2), Napoli (2), Benevento (1)|
|Friuli-Venezia Giulia||3||Udinese (2), Triestina (1)|
|Lazio||2||Lazio (1), Roma (1)|
|Umbria||2||Perugia (1), Ternana (1)|
Titles by city
Updated as of 2020–21 season
Promotions by region
Updated as of 2020–21 season
- The championship was suspended from 1943 to 1945 due to WWII, and the 1945–46 northern edition is not statistically considered by FIGC, even if its promotion result was official.
- Luciano Canepari. "serie". DiPI Online (in Italian). Retrieved 26 March 2021.
- Redazione (22 June 2018). "La B cambia nome: si chiamerà Serie BKT fino al 2021".
- "Dalla nuova Lega Serie B, nasce il campionato Serie bwin". Lega Serie B (in Italian). 7 July 2010. Archived from the original on 12 July 2010. Retrieved 7 July 2010.
- "Ecco il calendario ufficiale della Serie B ConTe.it". legab.it (in Italian). Lega Nazionale Professionisti Serie B. 27 August 2015. Retrieved 11 November 2015.
- "Italy's Serie B to introduce green cards; rewards given after season". Foxsports.com. 4 September 2015. Retrieved 23 December 2017.
- Mariani, Maurizio; Di Maggio, Roberto. "Italy – Serie B All-Time Table since 1929". RSSSF. Retrieved 22 August 2020.
- Sampdoria played 11 Serie B championships since 1946. However, according to FIGC rules, they inherited the honours and the records of their ancestors Sampierdarenese and Liguria and La Dominante, which played respectively 2 and 2 and 1 Serie B championships before WW2, for a total amount of 16 seasons.
- Official website Lega B (in Italian)