Spanish football league system

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The football league system in Spain consists of several leagues bound together hierarchically by promotion and relegation. The Spanish football federation allows reserve teams to compete in the main league system, as is the case in most of Europe; 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]

La Liga[edit]

La Liga is the highest level in the Spanish football league system and is operated by the LFP.

Other professional divisions[edit]

Segunda División, also called La Liga 2 is the second highest level in the Spanish football league system and is also operated by the LFP.

The Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) created a new division before the 2021–22 season between Segunda División and Segunda División B.[1] Various Spanish media tentatively called this division the Segunda División B Pro. The federation officially named the third tier Primera División RFEF with Segunda B dropping the B from its name and suffixing the federation's Spanish initials RFEF, becoming Segunda División RFEF and Tercera also appending the initials to its name.[2]

Semi-professional division[edit]

The Segunda Division B is the third highest level in the Spanish football league system and is operated by the RFEF, to be replaced by Primera RFEF in 2021.

Lower divisions[edit]

The Tercera Division is the fourth highest level in the Spanish football league system and is operated by the RFEF and 17 regional federations, to be supplanted by Segunda RFEF also in 2021. Starting at level 5 (6 in 2021), each of the 19 regional federations of RFEF run their regional league pyramid under their own jurisdiction. Tercera will be the fifth level next season.

For 2020–21:

Level

League(s)/Division(s)

Professional Leagues

1

La Liga
(LaLiga Santander)
20 teams

↓↑ 3 teams

2

Segunda División
(LaLiga SmartBank)
22 teams

↓↑ 4 teams
Semi-Professional League

3

Segunda División B
4 groups, 20 teams each (until 2020)
5 groups, 20-21 teams each; 10 subgroups, 10-11 teams each (2020–21)

↓ 26 teams, ↑ 54 teams
Non-Professional Leagues

4

Tercera División
18 groups, 20 teams each (until 2020)
18 groups, 20-24 teams each; 36 subgroups, 10-12 teams each (2020–21)

5

1st Regional Division
37 groups, >620 teams in total

6

2nd Regional Division

7

3rd Regional Division

8

4th Regional Division

9

5th Regional Division

Start of 2021–22:

Level

League(s)/Division(s)

Professional Leagues

1

La Liga
(LaLiga Santander)
20 teams

↓↑ 3 teams

2

Segunda División
(LaLiga SmartBank)
22 teams

↓↑ 4 teams

3

Primera División RFEF
2 groups, 20 teams each

↓↑ 10 teams
Semi-Professional League

4

Segunda División RFEF
5 groups, 18 teams each

↓↑ 18 teams
Non-Professional Leagues

5

Tercera División RFEF
18 groups, 18 teams each

6

1st Regional Division

7

2nd Regional Division

8

3rd Regional Division

9

4th Regional Division

10

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 1977–2021 2021–future
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 1ª División RFEF
4 None* None* Lower Lower Tercera División 2ª División RFEF
5 Lower 3ª División RFEF
6 Lower
7
8
9
10

* 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 Santander and the Segunda División is commonly known as Liga SmartBank for sponsorship reasons.

Women[edit]

Level

League

1

Primera División
(Liga Iberdrola)
16 teams

↓↑ 2 teams

2

Segunda División
2 groups, 16 teams each

↓↑ 6 teams

3

Primera Nacional
7 groups, 14 teams each

4

Regional leagues

Youth[edit]

Level

League

1

División de Honor
(7 groups)

2

Liga Nacional Juvenil
(21 groups)

3

Divisiones regionales

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Comunicado de la RFEF en relación con las competiciones no profesionales del fútbol español" [RFEF announcement in relation to the non-professional competitions in Spanish football] (in Spanish). RFEF. 6 May 2020. Retrieved 22 May 2020.
  2. ^ "La Federación desvela el misterio: La nueva Segunda B se denominará Primera División RFEF". ABC (in Spanish). 15 September 2020. Retrieved 18 September 2020.