SPANISH AND CATALAN SOCCER STRUCTURE
Spanish soccer had important changes in the distribution of its categories, a restructuring that started with the 2021-22 season. The professional competitions corresponding to LaLiga Santander and LaLiga Smartbank have been maintained in terms of format; however, the RFEF competitions were reformed. The changes contemplated the creation of the First RFEF, Second RFEF and Third RFEF, leaving behind what we previously knew as Second Division B and the traditional Third Division. Below, we detail it in detail:
– The First Division, the highest category of Spanish soccer belonging to LaLiga Santander it is the TOP professional competition. It is the highest category of Spanish soccer. It is organized by LaLiga. It is contested by 20 teams that face each other in 38 rounds in a round-robin format, with home and away matches. The clubs that occupy the top four places in the LaLiga Santander standings qualify for the Champions League, the fifth-placed team in the first division together with the champion of the Copa de Rey qualifies for the Europa League, and the sixth-placed team for the Conference League. The last three teams on the league table are relegated to LaLiga Smartbank, the second professional division.
– The Second Division, LaLiga Smartbank is a professional level competition, below the first division. It is organized by Spain’s professional soccer league, LaLiga. It is played by 22 teams in 42 rounds, also in a round-robin format, with one home and one away match against each of the rivals. The clubs occupying the top two places in the standings are promoted directly to the first division, LaLiga Santander. The clubs in third through sixth place in the standings will play in a playoff for a place in the first division. The four clubs at the bottom of the table are relegated to the Primera RFEF.
-The Primera RFEF appears as an intermediate division, below professional soccer, but with high competitive quality. It is a category that is close to professionalization, that link clubs to the Second Division of Spanish Football (LaLiga Smartbank). It is equivalent to the third category or the extinct Second B. In this category is UE Cornellà, an entity with which WOSPAC has been working for years. It is made up of 40 teams, divided into two groups of 20, which play home and away matches in 38 rounds. This competition defines who will be promoted to the Second Division. The system for promotion to the Smartbank League in the 2022-23 season will be as follows: the first two places will go to the two first places will go to the two champion clubs of each group. The other two places will be defined after a playoff phase in which eight teams will compete (the eight teams will be drawn from the second to the third place teams in each group).
-90 teams make up the new Second RFEF that compete in 5 groups (according to geographic criteria), of 18 clubs each. They compete in a traditional round-robin tournament, with home and with round-robin matches. This division is equivalent to the fourth category of Spanish soccer, the heir to the Second Division B. The champions of each of the groups of the Second RFEF are promoted to the First RFEF.
-The RFEF Third Division is made up of 324 teams divided into 18 groups of 18 each. There is one group corresponding to each autonomous community, except Andalusia, which has two groups. Tournament all against all in regular phase and playoffs for promotion. The third RFEF has a format similar to what we used to know as the Third Division, competition of which it is heir. It is equivalent to the fifth category of national soccer.
Below the Third RFEF the divisions are organized by the regional federations, in this case the Catalan Football Federation has the following: First Catalan, Second Catalan, Third Catalan and Fourth Catalan.
The categories of grassroots or formative soccer are those that form the player technically and tactically.
Grassroots soccer is divided into categories according to the age of the players. The maximum age is 19 years old. The categories of grassroots soccer (prior to senior/amateur soccer) in Spain are as follows:
Promesas (4-5 years old)
Prebenjamín (6-8 years old)
Benjamín (9-10 years old)
Alevín (11-12 years old)
Infantil (13-14 years old)
Cadete (15-16 years old)
Juvenil (17-19 years old)