In a little over a month, non-professional football will play its annual party and will grant promotion to the elite to four Second Division B teams.. Twenty other Third Clubs will also rise to the bronze category in what will undoubtedly be an unforgettable Playoff. Unforgettable because the photo that accompanies this article will not be repeated. Everything has changed, but the reasons for celebrating remain. If they've been in a bubble for months, stay tuned because any resemblance to last year's traditional model is pure coincidence. They will be the strangest qualifying rounds ever and the last wings of the remodeling of the category. Before football, there are a thousand and one questions to resolve: dates, venue, hours, raffles …

When will the Second B and Third Playoff be played?

The first idea was that it be played two weeks after the start of professional football (June 11). However, problems with sanitary protocol, uneven return to training and the need for a central headquarters have caused their dispute to drag on. Finally it will start the weekend of the 18th and the 19th and will end just a week later.

In the case of Second Division B, there will be a total of four days, set out below:

Saturday 18. Final and three quarter games. Different locations, same time.
Sunday 19. Final and three quarter games. Different locations, same time.
Thursday 23. Four semifinals. Different locations, same time.
Sunday 26. Two endings. Different locations, same time.

In Third Division it will be easier. The semifinals will be played on the weekend of June 18 and 19, which face the best four of each group against each other. A week later, the two winners play for the spot in Segunda División B.

Format and draws: yes in Second Division B, no in Third

Unlike in other years, Third Division draw will not exist. This is due to the format change. Now in Third the teams of each of the groups play each other. In other words, there will be one promotion per region plus two wild cards. So there doesn't even need to be a draw. The first will face the fourth and the second the third. They will be eliminatory to single party.

In Second B, on the contrary, the usual format of confrontations with crossed groups is maintained. On June 8 the traditional draw will be held in Las Rozas, with the two usual routes.

-Route of the champions. The top four finishers will play for promotion. These are Atlético Baleares, Logroñés, Castellón and Cartagena. The series will be a single match and the winners will advance directly to the Second Division. Those who fall defeated will enjoy, as always, a second chance.

-Route of the second, third and fourth. Finishing above in the classification will have the usual reward. There will be no field factor, but the seconds (Ibiza, Cultural Leonesa, Marbella and Barça B) will be measured in the quarters (Peña Deportiva, Yeclano, Cornellá and Valladolid B). The third parties will see each other's faces (Sabadell, Badajoz, Atlético B and Athletic B).

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This year there will be a different draw compared to previous seasons.

Venues: where will the Playoff take place?

For the first time, the Playoff will not have fans Nor travel around Spain to see your team among meadows, forests and small shops. The pandemic forces the playoffs to be held without an audience, at a headquarters. Contrary to popular belief, Murcia is not yet confirmed as the home of the Second B, although everything points to it. The Royal Spanish Football Federation finalizes the details to close the deal.

In regards to the stadium, it will not only be played at the Pinatar Arena. The heat, the accumulation of matches and the need to solve it in a short period of time requires that several matches have to be played simultaneously. This will also help to ensure that there is no inequality when it comes to breaks. Therefore, more stages are needed. La Condomina, Cartagonova (where Cartagena would not play) and Artés Carrasco aim to host matches.

In Third Division there will also be headquarters, where the three matches corresponding to each of the groups in the category will be played. Some have already been confirmed. For example, him Roman Stadium of Mérida will live the fight to climb from Extremadura. Marbella will do the same with the qualifiers for both Group IX and Group X or the Alcazar de San Juan will host the Castilian-La Mancha. As the days go by, the rest of the venues will be confirmed.

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The Pinatar Arena will be, except surprise, one of the venues of the Second B Playoff.

How and where will the Second B Playoff be viewed?

One more year, Footters has obtained the emission rights of the Playoff of Second B and Third. Unlike other years, this time you will be able to broadcast each and every one of the duels. 14 of them will compete with the promotion to Second as objective and another 54 in the lower category. Until June 15 fans can subscribe for 9.99 euros. Subsequently, they will have to pay € 14.99.

Footters informs that it will be compatible with SmartTv and Chromecast and that up to two simultaneous devices will be allowed. Footters is a streaming platform, common in the broadcast of non-professional football. At the beginning of the season, he proposed two packages: one monthly for 6.99 a month and another annual with a single payment of 69.99.

Participants and qualifiers

In Second B, the 16 classifieds are still pending pairings:

Group I: Atlético Baleares, Ibiza, Atlético B and Peña Deportiva.
Group II: UD Logroñés, Cultural, Bilbao Athletic, Valladolid B.
Group III: Castellón, Barcelona B, Sabadell and Cornellà.
Group IV: Cartagena, Marbella, Badajoz and Yeclano.

In Third, on the contrary, all the semifinal matches are already known:

Group i: Compostela-Barco and Ourense-Arosa.
Group II: Lealtad-Caudal Deportivo and UD Llanera-CD Covadonga.
Group III: CD Laredo-Tropezón and R. S. Gimnástica-Rayo Cantabria.
Group IV: Portugalete-Basconia and Sestao River-Vitoria C. D.
Group v: L`Hospitalet-Sant Andreu and Terrrassa-Europa.
Group VI: Alcoyano-Intercity and Alzira-Atzeneta.
Group VII: Navalcarnero-Alcalá and Adarve-Alcorcón B.
Group VIII: Zamora-Numancia B and Gª Segoviana-Arandina.
Group IX: Linares-Real Jaén and El Ejido 2012-Motril.
Group X: Betis B-Utrera and Ciudad de Lucena-Xerez.
Group XI: Poblense-Felanitx and CD Ibiza Pitiusas-Mallorca B.
Group XII: CD Marino-Tamaraceite and Tenisca-San Fernando.
Group XIII: Lorca Deportiva-Mazarrón and Atlético Pulpileño-Mar Menor.
Group XIV: Villanovense-Extremadura B and Coria-Cacereño.
Group XV: Mutilvera-CD Pamplona and AD San ​​Juan-Beti Kozkor KE.
Group XVI: SD Logroñés-Arnedo and Varea-Casalarreina.
Group XVII: Tarazona-Deportivo Aragón and Teruel-Brea.
Group XVIII: Socuéllamos-Toledo and Quintanar-Guadalajara.

How were the participants decided?

The Royal Spanish Football Federation opted to suspend the regular season and go directly to the Playoffs. It was then when there was a whirlwind of criticism from clubs that he did not consider of receiving to ruin his effort during the season. Possibilities such as the dispute of a Playoff with the first eight of each group were put on the table, but they fell on deaf ears. Four per group, as had always been done, was the final decision.

However, the problem was not yet resolved. Yes in Second Division B, but not in Third. In the fourth category of Spanish football there was a significant number of games postponed, which could not be disputed, but which significantly affected the classification. For example, Tenisca was first, but dropped to second position for leading a game more than Marino, former second and current leader.

The criterion used to resolve the setback was the point coefficient. That is, divide the amount of points added up to that moment between the games played. Whoever had a higher number would occupy the most favorable position. Thus, these changes occurred in Third Division:

Group VIII: The Zamora remains leader, followed by the Gimnástica Segoviana. Arandina and Numancia B, despite having one less game, close the ranking in third and fourth place respectively.
Group XII: Marino goes from third to leader. It is followed by Tenisca, which was first before. The San Fernando, which was in fourth place, is now third. Tamaraceite falls from second to fourth place.
Group XIV: Cacereño, who had one less game, does not beat Coria in coefficient and concludes the third season.
Group XVII: Tarazona, even with one less game, was already first. Teruel and Brea follow. Zaragoza B wins the Industrial Quarter for fourth place. Both had one less game, but the coefficient favors the Maño subsidiary.
Group XVIII: Socuéllamos and Quintanar del Rey start with an advantage in the Playoff. Guadalajara, by coefficient, overtakes Toledo and is third. The Toledo team saves the noble position by tenths against Atlético Ibañés, fifth with a match to play.

Champions, overtime and penalties. What happens in the event of a tie?

There is an important contrast between what the Second B and Third Playoffs will be like to give the leaders of the regular season a privilege. In Second B, the championship tie is maintained, with the only difference that it will be a single match. Therefore, leaders already have their prize: the second chance. In the Third, that cannot happen, since there are no eliminatory rounds for Spain but 18 different cadres respective to each of the territorial federations.

But leaders, not surprisingly, will enjoy an important privilege also in Third. They will advance with two draws or, which is the same, if their matches end in a draw after the 90-minute dispute, they will conclude with advancement to the next round or promotion for the teams that finish the regular season in a better position. In other words, there will be neither extension nor penalties. An example:

Group i: Compostela (1º) -Barco (4º) and Ourense (2º) -Arosa (3º).

Results: Compostela 1- Barco 1 and Ourense 0- Arosa 0.

Classifieds: Compostela and Ourense for being the best classified in the regular phase.

Final: Compostela 2- Ourense 2.

Ascent: Compostela, for being the leader and not losing either of their two meetings.

What if there is a positive?

Another of the great unknowns still to be resolved is what will happen if there is a positive in one of the teams shortly before the Express Playoff dispute. Health marks that all the staff should quarantine, although this could be avoided if the tests show that there are no more infections. This matter, in any case, has brought a queue to the point that those involved such as Pablo Alfaro, coach of Ibiza, hinted that there would be clubs that would force positives so that the promotion playoff was not contested and, therefore, achieved the place in superior category the leaders of the respective groups.

Rubiales already made it clear that he was not going to allow tricks to put the competition dispute at risk and he made each of the clubs sign a protocol through which the FEF ignored the health problems derived from not complying with it and in which they urged footballers not to do social life to avoid risks. After that, a great controversy broke out, although little by little the waters have calmed down. “You will be a Federation, but YOU ARE NOT FOOTBALL,” complained Jesús Medina, the president of Linares.

Pablo Alfaro, one of the controversial men in the Playoff.

Pablo Alfaro, one of the controversial men in the Playoff.

What happens to the players who end the contract?

A problem that remains unsolved. It will be a matter for the clubs themselves, which at law cannot force a footballer to renew his contract if he does not want to. Also if he is on loan, the other club does not have to yield if it is not his wish. In any case, the extraordinary situation seems to broaden empathy among those affected. Without going further, twenty Sabadell footballers have signed an extension of their contract to be ready for the Playoff. There are also problems: Atlético Baleares claims the return of Jordan Holsgrove, on loan from Reading. At the moment, there is no pact, which has caused a conflict of interest between the clubs.

Where do the two extra Third Division promotions come from?

One of the great innovations is that not only will the 18 Final Four champions from each territory rise, but so will two other extra teams to match the new Second Division B to 100 clubs. For the moment, the Royal Spanish Football Federation has not explained what the criteria will be that will continue to give the place to two more. It is speculated with the possibility that they are for the two that have scored the most points in the regular season, for the best two of those who have lost the final due to promotion … It seems that these will be announced once the phase of heats.

Will the penalties be met?

Yes, those who fulfilled the warning cycle after the dispute of the last day of the regular season in Second Division B or Third will not be able to play the first elimination round of the Playoff of ascent. Neither may those who are expelled at one of the intersections of this particular Express Playoff be able to play the next match.

They have all signed up

Between financial difficulties, sanitary protocols and expiring contracts, the RFEF gave clubs the possibility of not registering in the Playoff without any penalty. For a moment, there was talk that there were several who had in mind not to play it. Finally, it was not so. Today the Federation has officially announced that all those who had the right to dispute the qualifying rounds for promotion will play them. Problem solved in Las Rozas.

What happened to the claims?

Coruxo (Second B), Lleida (Second B), Sestao (Group IV), Sant Andreu (Group V), Villaverde Saint Andrew (Group VII), Xerez Deportivo (Group X), SD Tenisca (Group XII), Atlético Ibañes (Group XVIII) and CD Varea (Group XVI) claimed before the Appeal Committee the nullity of the procedure established by the Federation and the application of the conventional regulations to define promotions. Justice did not agree with them and decided to knock down each of their resources. Everything continues its course, despite the complaints of many clubs that have not been reinforced in their particular circumstances. Some of them, like Tenisca, will play the Playoff.


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