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From 1959, every player who took part in the Serie D championships had to opt for semi-professional status by signing a specially issued form assigning the status. This brought the championship into the Lega Nazionale Semiprofessionisti, now known as Lega Pro. Serie D was reorganised in 1981 when the championships were reduced. The name of the league was changed to Interregional. Players lost semi-professional status and became amateurs. The championship then became the Lega Nazionale Dilettanti.
From 1992 to 1999 the name changed to Campionato Nazionale Dilettanti before finally reverting to the current Serie D name. With the merger of the two Lega Pro divisions at the end of the 2013-14 season (as decided by the FIGC and Lega Pro in November 2012) to restore Serie C, Serie D and the leagues below it moved up one level in the pyramid, reducing the number of leagues in Italian football to nine.
In recent years, one or more teams from the professional leagues have usually failed to meet the regulatory or financial requirements for participation. This usually leaves places vacant, which are announced during the summer break when the new season is being prepared.
When teams are promoted to fill the gap created by these failed teams, or when teams fail in the lowest professional league, gaps are created in Serie C (or, before the 2014-15 season, in the Lega Pro Seconda Divisione) that need to be filled.
In the 2007-08 season, for example, there were nine such failures and thus nine places were created in the Lega Pro Seconda Divisione. Four of these places were filled by recalling teams that had played in the Seconda Divisione but had been relegated to Serie D for the next season. The other five vacancies were filled by teams from Serie D that had participated in the Serie D play-offs.
Games that end in a draw go into extra time. Since the 2007-08 season, if the score is still tied after extra time, the higher ranked team is declared the winner. There is no penalty shoot-out. In the first round, the fifth-placed team in each division meets the second-placed team and the fourth-placed team meets the third-placed team. In round two, the two winners meet.
At the end of round two, one team from each division survives and the nine winners are divided into three groups of three and play each team in their group once (once home and once away). A semi-final play-off is held after the three group winners qualify. Since 2007-08, the winner of the Coppa Italia Serie D qualifies for the fourth semi-final. The semi-finals are played in two matches. The winners qualify for a final with a match played at a neutral venue.
The results of the playoffs provide the league with a list from which it can select teams to fill vacancies in Series C. The number of teams promoted in this way can vary from year to year; for example, in the 2007-08 season the top 5 playoff teams were selected to fill vacancies, while in the 2006-07 season no teams were required to fill vacancies.
There are a total of 4 relegated teams in each league, making 36 in total in the league. There are no play-outs if the difference between 6th and 3rd and that between 5th and 4th is more than eight points.
In the first round, the nine teams are divided into three groups of three teams each, with each team playing a single match against each of the other two opponents. The three group winners and the best second-placed team advance to the semi-finals.
The first Scudetto Dilettanti was awarded in 1952-1953, when Serie D was still called IV Serie. The award was suspended from 1958-1959 until 1991-1992.
|Italian Serie A||〉|
|Italian Serie B||〉|
|Italian Serie C||〉|
|Italian Serie D||〉|