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Lega Italiana Calcio Professionistico
Countries Italy Italy
San Marino San Marino
Confederation UEFA
Founded 1959
Divisions Lega Pro Prima Divisione
Lega Pro Seconda Divisione
Number of teams 90
Promotion to Lega Calcio
Relegation to Lega Dilettanti
Levels on pyramid 3-4
Domestic cup(s) Coppa Italia Lega Pro
Supercoppa Lega Pro
Current champions Gallipoli Calcio (2008–09)
TV partners RAI
Soccerball current event.svg Serie C1 2009-10; Serie C2 2009-10

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 and nine teams (three from each group) go down to Serie D. For both Prima Divisione and Seconda Divisione, teams are split by geographical criteria.


Brief history

A third division above regional leagues was created at first in Italy in 1926, when fascist authorities decided a reform of major championships on national basis, increasing number of teams attending by promoting many regional teams of Third Division (Terza Divisione) to Second Division (Seconda Divisione).

A new league running this Second Division, the Direttorio Divisioni Inferiori Nord (Northern Directory of Lower Divisions) was set up in Genoa, while the football activity in southern part of the country was run by the Direttorio Divisioni Inferiori Sud later refreshed as Direttorio Meridionale (Southern Directory). These leagues hadn't a long life: after another reform, they were disbanded between 1930 and 1931. Some, mostly high level teams owning large pitches dimensioned 100x60, were pumped up in First Division (Prima Divisione) a league defined and structured as "National Championship".
The Second Division had no relegations at all to regional leagues because most of them were reelected at the beginning of the new season. When reached a critical limit the italian federation decided to close the two leagues and pass all teams to the "Direttori Regionali" (Regional Committees) so that the heavy organizing job was delegated to well grown, improved, and organized regional staffs.

The best teams coming from Second Divisions in 5 years (from 1926-27 to 1930-31) composed 6 ever growing sections of the First Division (Prima Divisione) which at beginning got just few teams in just one section from southern Italy.

This championship was organized by the same league governing Serie A and Serie B (the "Direttorio Divisioni Superiori"), even if, on the contrary of the two higher divisions, it was structured on local groups with geographical criteria. Number of clubs belonging to the Prima Divisione continued to improve every year, until FIGC decided to rename it into "Serie C" (at beginning season 1935-36) and then a big reduction in 1948 that created a sole national division in 1952-53.

The reform creating the actual league was decided by Bruno Zauli in 1959 when, because of the incompleted work started by former president Ottorino Barassi, was completely recognized and ruled the professional football. While Lega Calcio had the mission to organize professional and national divisions, the new Lega Nazionale Semiprofessionisti set in Florence had to regulate the two semiprofessional and subnational divisions: Serie C and Serie D, with the first one adopting a format of three groups of 20 teams each. In 1978 the semiprofessional sector was abolished, Serie D became amatorial, Serie C was divided into two professional divisions (Serie C1 and Serie C2), and the league changed its name into Lega Professionisti Serie C. On 20 June 2008 the league has refreshed and took the actual name of Lega Italiana Calcio Professionistico.

Playoff and Playout

In each of the five divisions (2 in Prima Divisione and 3 in Seconda Divisione), two teams are promoted and three teams are relegated. The first-placed team in a particular division is automatically promoted, while the 2nd through 5th placed teams enter a playoff tournament to determine the other team that will be promoted. The first round pairs the 2nd placed team vs the 5th placed team and the 3rd vs the 4th in a double leg series with the higher classified team having home-field advantage in the 2nd leg. The team with the higher aggregate score moves on to the second round. In case of an aggregate tie, the higher classified team moves on (the away goals rule is not used). The two winners play each other under the exact same format to determine the second team that will be promoted.

In the relegation zone, the last placed team (18th) is automatically demoted. The teams placed 14th through 17th enter a playoff round more commonly called playout. In this format the 14th placed team plays the 17th, and the 15th plays the 16th using the same rules mentioned for the promotion playoffs. The two winners remain in the division while the two losers are relegated. There is no second round in the playouts.

Past champions

External links

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