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This article describes the men's football regional leagues in Germany. For the leagues of the same name in Austria, see: Austrian Regionalliga (football)

The Fußball-Regionalliga is the fourth tier of football in the German football league system. Until 1974, it was the second tier of the league system before being disbanded. The Regionalliga was then re-introduced as the third tier of the system in 1994. Upon introduction of a new nationwide 3rd Liga in 2008, it was demoted to the fourth level of the pyramid.

Contents

History of the Regionalligas

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1963 to 1974

From the introduction of the Bundesliga in 1963 until the formation of the 2nd Bundesliga in 1974, there were five Regionalligas, forming the second tier of German Football:

The champions and runners-up of the respective divisions played out two promotion spots to the Bundesliga in two groups after the end of the season.

In 1974 the two 2nd Bundesligas, Süd and Nord became the second tier of German Football and the Regionalligas ceased existing for the next 20 years.

1994 to 2000

In 1994 the Regionalligas were re-introduced, this time as the third tier of German Football. There were initially four Regionalligas:

  • Regionalliga Süd, covering the states of Bayern, Hessen and Baden-Württemberg
  • Regionalliga West/Südwest, covering the states of Rheinland-Pfalz, Saarland and Nordrhein-Westfalen
  • Regionalliga Nord, covering the states of Niedersachsen, Schleswig-Holstein, Bremen and Hamburg
  • Regionalliga Nordost, covering the states of Brandenburg, Berlin, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Sachsen-Anhalt, Thüringen and Sachsen

Between 1994 and 2000, promotion to the 2nd Bundesliga was regulated without much continuity. It was a problematic rule, as becoming champion of a division did not automatically mean promotion for that team. The champions of the South and West/Southwest divisions were automatically promoted, however, along with one of the two runners-up. The champions of the North and Northeast divisions had a play-off to decide who would get the fourth promotion spot. This rule was justified because there are more clubs in the southern part of Germany than the north.

In 1998, the promotion rule was changed again: the winner of the play-off between the North and Northeast division champions was promoted, while the loser faced the runners-up from the West/Southwest and South divisions in another play-off for the remaining promotion spot.

2000 to 2008

In 2000 the number of Regionalligas was reduced to two:

The new divisional alignment was not bound to certain states any more so teams could be moved between the divisions in order to balance club numbers. This led to some clubs in the Southern division being geographically further north then some northern clubs, and vice-versa.

The champions and the runners-up of every division were promoted to the 2nd Bundesliga.

2008 to current

In 2008 the Regionalliga was demoted to become the fourth tier of football in Germany after the introduction of a new nationwide 3rd Liga. However, there was an expansion to three divisions:[1]

  • Regionalliga Nord, roughly covering the states of Brandenburg, Berlin, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Sachsen-Anhalt, Thüringen, Sachsen, Niedersachsen, Schleswig-Holstein, Bremen and Hamburg
  • Regionalliga Süd, roughly covering the states of Bayern, Hessen and Baden-Württemberg
  • Regionalliga West, roughly covering the states of Rheinland-Pfalz, Saarland and Nordrhein-Westfalen

"Roughly covering" means that the single divisions will be annually re-aligned to geographic location by a DFB committee in order to have 18 teams assigned to each division every year. This may lead to teams assigned to a division other than their geographical one. An example for this is BV Cloppenburg, who was assigned to the Western division for the 2008-09 season despite being located in Niedersachsen.

Source: Kicker Almanach, the football yearbook on German football from Bundesliga to Oberliga since 1937, published by the Kicker Sports Magazine.

League setup

Licensing

A club that wants to play in the Regionalliga must meet two conditions. First, the team must qualify for the league. Second, the club must obtain a license from the DFB. This license is granted if the club can prove that they are financially sound, that their stadium conforms to the security regulations, and that they have a working youth section.

Promotion

The champions of each division are promoted to the 3rd Liga at the end of the season. Reserve teams will also be eligible for promotion unless the respective first team is playing in the 3rd Liga.

Relegation

The bottom three teams of each division are demoted to their respective Oberliga. In the Regionalliga Nord, the fourth-to-last team will also be demoted.

As clubs in the Regionalliga must have their teams licensed by the DFB on a per-season basis, a team may also be relegated by having its license revoked or by going into administration. Reserve teams are also relegated when the respective first team is relegated to the Regionalliga.

Squad rules

Matchday squads in the Regionalliga must include at least six players of German nationality and under the age of 24, two under the age of 21, and a maximum of three non-EU players.

Teams competing in the 2009–10 season

North

West

South

References

  1. ^ http://www.dfb.de/index.php?id=3092 Official DFB article on the 3rd Bundesliga and Regionalliga, author:DFB, accessed: 08/12/2007

External links


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