Spanish football Leagues

Spanish Football League Structure

The governing board of football in Spain is the Royal Spanish Football Federation ( Real Federación Española de Fútbol)  RFEF.   Boasting clubs like Real Madrid and Barcelona, Spanish football is the home of some of the best players in the world.

Men - Spanish Football Leagues

Professional Leagues

Like so many other countries, Spain has numerous football leagues consisting of relegations and promotions.   There are several tiers of football in Spain.  

The top flight of Spanish Football is La Liga. It has 20 teams in which three can get relegated.

The top 4 teams get considered eligible for the UEFA Champions League. Furthermore, the 5th and 6th placed teams qualify for the UEFA Europa League.

Segunda Division comes after the Spanish League. It comprises 22 teams, out of which three get promoted to La Liga, and four get relegated.

Until this last year, Segunda Division B  comes after Segunda Division and was the third tier of the Spanish game. Primera RFEF decided to change the structure of this league in the 2020/21 season. 

This year, for the 2021-2022 season, the RFEF introduced a new Division that they placed between the Segunda division and Segunda Division B.  It has been named the Primera division RFEF. 

Now, after the Segunda Division, you have the Primera Division RFEF which is composed of 2 groups, made up of 18-20 teams each.  Below this is the Segunda Division B made up of 5 groups with 18-20 teams each.

Amateur (Non-Professional) Leagues

The Tercera Division RFEF had been the 4th level of football in Spain, but with the introduction of the new Segunda Division RFEF, Tercera has moved down to the 5th tier of Spanish football.

Tiers 5-10 are made up of the 1st through 6th regional divisions respectively.

 

 

Women - Spanish Football Leagues

Even though soccer is very popular in Spain, the love for the game has mainly focused itself on the men's side.  This is changing.  in 2019, the RFEF committed 20 million towards developing their women's football programs.

Currently, there are only three leagues of football available for women in Spain.

The top level of women's football is the Liga Iberdola.  It is made up of 16 teams, and is also known as the Primera Division.

Next is the Segunda Division which is called the  Premiera Nacional division.  This is also comprised of several groups each containing multiple teams.

Lastly, are the regional leagues.

Youth - Spanish Football Leagues

This is only addressing the U19 level of Spanish play. 

The top tier for youth players is known as the Division de Honor Juvenil de Futbol.  This is made up of top players aged 18 and under.  There are 7 groups within this, each composed of several teams.  Many of the youth players who are in this division are scouted for professional and semi-professional clubs.

Next is the Liga Nacional Juvenil team.  It is comprised of 17 regional groups, plus four groups from the Canary Islands.  

Lastly are the regional teams.  There are many of these, often several per city.  

National vs. Foreign Players

The Spanish players find it very comfortable in Spain. Many clubs even have an unspoken rule of only having clubs from their own locale. (for example Bilbao and Sociedad at one time.

FC Barcelona and Real Madrid get considered the epitome of National Players. Both of their influences were so much that at one point, the Spanish international team only comprised Real Madrid and FC Barcelona players.  In the 2010 World Cup final that Spain won, ten of the eleven Spanish players belonged to either Real Madrid or FC Barcelona.  

There are also some foreign players who have made impacts on Spanish teams.  In 2013, Gareth Bale became one of the very few players to adapt his life at Real Madrid, becoming part of one of the most excellent football sides. According to the Welshman, he had to take classes to learn Spanish in his first season.

Click here for a list of residential soccer academies in europe