We all know about the mega clubs of Serie A, and the fairly simple structure of Serie B. Below Serie B is Liga Pro, split into Prima Divisione and Seconda Divisione. So onto the lowest playable Italian Leagues, the Second Divisione Girones A,B and C.
Recent champions at this level have included Venezia, Cosenza, Mantova, Foggia and Padova, all of whom should be vaguely familiar as they have played much higher up the Italian pyramid. (At this point may I recommend the book ‘The Miracle of Castel di Sangro‘ for a season in the lower leagues of Italy. Awesome book.
Lega Italiana Calcio Professionistico (Lega Pro) is the name of the professional football league governing the third and fourth highest divisions in Italy: the Prima Divisione (third tier) and the Seconda Divisione (fourth tier). It also includes the sole professional club of San Marino. Its headquarters are in Florence.
In turn, Prima Divisione consists of two groups: Girone A and Girone B, both of 18 teams. At the end of the season, four teams two from each group go up to Serie B and six teams (three from each group) go down to Seconda Divisione.
Seconda Divisione consists of three groups: Girone A, Girone B, and Girone C, all of them composed of 18 teams. At the end of the season, six teams (two from each group) go up to Prima Divisione. The champions go straight up, teams 2nd to 5th go into a promotion play-off series. Nine teams (three from each group) go down to Serie D, with the bottom team going straight down, and teams from 17th to 14th going into a relegation play-off. Rules for the squad state that a maximum of 14 over 21 year olds, and 11 over 23’s can be selected in a squad for the league. You can however have an unlimited number of u-21 players available and they don’t need to be registered. For both Prima Divisione and Seconda Divisione, teams are split by geographical criteria.
Here is a recent overview of the geographical split of teams at this level.
Coppa Italia Lega Pro (Italian for Lega Pro Italian Cup), formerly named Coppa Italia Serie C, starts with a group stage of 15 groups containing 4 teams. These groups involve playing only 4 matches, so not home and away against each team. You do get 2 home and 2 away matches though. From there it is a knock-out based next round, but then a 3 team mini-league in round 3. Then it reverts to home and away knock-out.
The Supercoppa di Lega di Seconda Divisione is an Italian football competition played for by the three group winners of the Lega Pro Seconda Divisione, formerly Serie C2. It has been contested since the 2005-06 season.
UPDATE: It would seem that finishing in the top 5 positions in Seconda Divisiones gets you into the Coppa Italia proper, avoiding the group stage of the Coppa Lega Pro as you drop into the 2nd round.Author: William McBeard