Portuguese football league system

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The Portuguese football league system consists of several leagues bound together hierarchically by promotion and relegation. Reserve teams are allowed to compete in the main league system, as is the case with most of Europe. However, they are not allowed to compete in the same tier as their senior team, thus no reserve team has ever competed in Portugal's top flight, the Primeira Liga.

Contents

Men's league system

The Portuguese men's football league system consists of three national divisions and up to four district leagues (depending on the district).

National leagues

All three national divisions provide access to the Portuguese Cup. The first two leagues are operated by the Portuguese Professional Football League, and they also guarantee participation in the Portuguese League Cup. Lastly, the third division is divided in eight leagues and is the only division operated by the Portuguese Football Federation. The federation announced the creation of the Terceira Liga (Third League) starting in 2021–22. [1]

Until 2020–21:

LevelLeague(s)/Division(s)
1

Primeira Liga
18 clubs

↓↑ 2 clubs + 1 club play-off
2

Liga Portugal 2
18 clubs

↓↑ 2 clubs
3

Campeonato de Portugal Serie A
12 clubs

Campeonato de Portugal Serie B
12 clubs

Campeonato de Portugal Serie C
12 clubs

Campeonato de Portugal Serie D
12 clubs

Campeonato de Portugal Serie E
12 clubs

Campeonato de Portugal Serie F
12 clubs

Campeonato de Portugal Serie G
12 clubs

Campeonato de Portugal Serie H
12 clubs

↓ 32 clubs ↑ 20 clubs

Beginning of 2021–22:

LevelLeague(s)/Division(s)
1

Primeira Liga
18 clubs

↓↑ 2 clubs + 1 club play-off
2

Liga Portugal 2
18 clubs

↓↑ 2 clubs + 1 club play-off
3

Terceira Liga
24 clubs (20 clubs starting on 2023–24)

↓↑ 4 clubs (↓ 8 clubs ↑ 4 clubs for 2022–23)
4

Campeonato de Portugal Serie A
15 clubs (14 clubs starting on 2022–23)

Campeonato de Portugal Serie B
15 clubs (14 clubs starting on 2022–23)

Campeonato de Portugal Serie C
15 clubs (14 clubs starting on 2022–23)

Campeonato de Portugal Serie D
15 clubs (14 clubs starting on 2022–23)

↓ 24 clubs ↑ 20 clubs (↓↑ 20 clubs starting on 2023–24)

District leagues

District leagues are operated by 22 District Associations: 18 from each district, plus 1 from Madeira Islands, and 3 from Azores Islands (west, center and east islands groups). The winner of each district league is promoted to the third national tier, the Campeonato de Portugal. Moreover, all district leagues provide access to their correspondent district cup, and the winner of the district cup, along with the second-placed team in the district league, is allowed to participate in the next season's Portuguese Cup. The bottom tier of each association is open to any new club or reserve team based on that district.

District AssociationLevel 4Level 5Level 6Level 7
Porto FA

Elite Pro-National
32 clubs(Series 1 and 2)

Division of Honour
32 clubs(Series 1 and 2)

First Division
32 clubs(Series 1 and 2)

Second Division
36 clubs(Series 1 and 2)

Lisbon FA

Pro-National
16 clubs

Division of Honour
32 clubs(Series 1 and 2)

First Division
32 clubs(Series 1 and 2)

Aveiro FA

Elite
18 clubs

First Division
18 clubs

Second Division
36 clubs(Series 1 and 2)

Braga FA

Pro-National
18 clubs

Division of Honour
32 clubs(Series 1 and 2)

First Division
66 clubs(Series 1, 2, 3 and 4)

Algarve FA

First Division12 clubs

Second Division14 clubs

Beja FA

First Division13 clubs

Second Division26 clubs(Series 1 and 2)

Coimbra FA

Division of Honour16 clubs

First Division18 clubs

Évora FA

Elite Division14 clubs

Division of Honour15 clubs

Guarda FA

First Division14 clubs

Second Division7 clubs

Leiria FA

Campeonato Lizsport16 clubs

First Division25 clubs(Series 1 and 2)

Madeira FA

Division of Honour12 clubs

First Division7 clubs

Santarém FA

First Division16 clubs

Second Division22 clubs(Series 1 and 2)

Setúbal FA

First Division16 clubs

Second Division16 clubs

Viana do Castelo FA

First Division16 clubs

Second Division16 clubs

Viseu FA

Division of Honour16 clubs

First Division27 clubs(Series 1 and 2)

Angra do Heroísmo FA

Azores Championship10 clubs

Graciosa Championship3 clubs

São Jorge Championship5 clubs

Terceira Championship5 clubs

Horta FA

Horta Championship5 clubs

Ponta Delgada FA

São Miguel Championship10 clubs

Bragança FA

Division of Honour11 clubs

Castelo Branco FA

Division of Honour10 clubs

Portalegre FA

First Division9 clubs

Vila Real FA

Division of Honour17 clubs

Women's league system

The Portuguese women's football league system consists of three national divisions and no district leagues.

All divisions provide access to the Women's Portuguese Cup and are operated by the Portuguese Football Federation. The second and third divisions are divided in series by geographical proximity.

LevelLeague(s)/Division(s)
1

Campeonato Nacional de Futebol Feminino
20 clubs

↓↑ 2 clubs
2

Campeonato Nacional de Futebol Feminino II Divisão
16 clubs

↓↑ 2 clubs
2

Campeonato Nacional de Futebol Feminino III Divisão
57 clubs

See also

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The Liga 3 will be the third-level football league in the Portuguese football league system, starting in 2021–22. It will be a professional national league organized by the Portuguese Football Federation (FPF).

References

  1. "FPF avança com 3.ª Liga em 2021/22 e cria megaplano para o Campeonato de Portugal" [FPF advances with 3rd League in 2021–22 and creates megaplan for the Championship of Portugal]. Record.pt (in Portuguese). 6 May 2020. Retrieved 22 May 2020.