SENIOR SOCCER CATEGORIES IN SPAIN & WAGES
In Spain, soccer stands as the most cherished sport.
For a comprehensive understanding of the premier soccer competitions in Spain and their organizational structure, continue reading!
FIRST DIVISION: LIGA EA
La Liga, known as La Liga EA for the 2023/2024 season, is Spain’s top competition. Regulated by the Real Federación Española de Fútbol, it features the country’s top clubs, being Real Madrid and FC Barcelona traditionally the top 2 clubs with 35 titles and 27 titles over the course of the 92 editions respectively.
The four best-placed teams earn the privilege of participating in the Champions League, while the fifth and sixth-placed teams qualify for the Europa League. The seventh-placed team secures a spot in the Conference League.
The bottom three teams face the penalty of relegation to the Second Division, Liga Hypermotion. In their first year in Liga Hypermotion, these relegated teams receive financial assistance from the RFEF to build competitive squads and aim for a prompt return to the top tier of Spanish soccer.
In terms of wages, the 2023/2024 season sets the minimum Liga EA salary at €186,000, with the majority of players expected to earn well over €300,000 annually.
SECOND DIVISION: LIGA HYPERMOTION
Featuring 22 teams la Liga Hypermotion is the second-most significant competition in Spain.
Winning teams gain the opportunity for promotion to La Liga EA. Both La Liga Hypermotion and Liga Santander clubs operate with substantial budgets, conducting training camps in elite facilities.
The top contenders for the 23-24 season include recently relegated teams like RCD Espanyol, Elche, and Valladolid, all striving for a swift return to the top flight.
Only the top two teams secure direct promotion, with the third to sixth-placed teams engaging in a playoff. The bottom four teams face relegation to 1st RFEF.
Regarding wages, Liga Hypermotion players earn between €93,000 and close to €1 million annually, with forwards typically dominating the list of highest earners.
THIRD DIVISION – 1ST RFEF
The 1st RFEF, comprises 2 groups in Spain, representing the last fully professional tier. Iconic clubs like Málaga, Castellón, and Deportivo de la Coruña participate, boasting higher budgets compared to newly promoted teams.
The promotion system entails the top two teams in each group gaining direct promotion to Liga Hypermotion. Simultaneously, the second to fifth-placed teams engage in a playoff for the third and final promotion spot.
Relegation involves the bottom four teams in each group, descending to the semi-professional Second RFEF.
Players in 1st RFEF earn an average salary of around €50,000, with variations from €15,000 to €300,000 annually in the most powerful teams.
2ND RFEF AND 3RD RFEF
Beyond the 1st RFEF, we find the semi-professional leagues of the 2nd RFEF and 3rd RFEF. Soccer clubs often organize trials to scout international talent, while independent soccer trials draw sports directors and representation agencies, facilitating player signings.
The 2nd RFEF, organized into 6 groups across Spain, follows a regional division. In contrast, the 3rd RFEF encompasses 18 groups.
Promotion: the top team in each group secures direct promotion, while the second to fifth-placed teams compete in a playoff for additional promotion spots.
Wages for players in the Second RFEF are between €15,000 and €50,000 annually.
CATEGORIES IN WOMEN’S SOCCER
The top-tier, La Liga F, features the country’s best clubs, with FC Barcelona currently dominating. This is the sole professional women’s soccer league in the country.
The top three La Liga F teams qualify for the Champions League, while the bottom two face relegation to the second tier.
Beyond La Liga F, there’s a regional First Division with a single group in Spain. The top two teams promote to La Liga F, while the bottom three drop to the second division. This second division comprises two groups nationwide. The champions from each group secure promotion, and the second-placed teams engage in a playoff for the final promotion spot. The bottom four teams face relegation to the 1st National division, where players often receive minimal compensation.