The new format for the Copa del Rey competition will be repeated again this year. Dates have been set for three initial rounds played over one leg, and two-leg knockouts from there on up to the final. The first three rounds will be between second division A clubs and the top sides from the second division B and the third division, as follows:
First round: This will only involve 24 second division B and 18 third division clubs. The 2B clubs are made up of the top five of each of last season's four regional groups, plus the five best placed sides after that. The four promoted sides are excluded, replaced by the four sides who were relegated. The teams qualifying from the third division are the 18 regional group champions, except in the cases where this was a B side, where the runners up will qualify. Six of the 2B sides will be excluded and given byes to the next round, leaving 18 ties to be played, with clubs grouped into four geographical regions.Games will be played over one leg at the ground of the first named side, with the losers going in to the Federation Cup.
Second round: The 18 winners from round one plus the six exempt sides will join the 21 second division A sides (excluding Sevilla B). One of the 2A sides will be given a bye, and the remaining 20 will play off against each other. The 24 lower division sides will also be drawn against each other. Again matches will take place over one leg.
Third round: Once again the 2A sides and the lower division sides will be kept apart. One of the 10 winners from the 2A grouping will be given a bye to the fourth round, and the remaining nine plus the team who had a bye from the last round will play off. The 12 lower division winners from the second round will also meet each other.
The 20 first division clubs will only enter the competition in round four together with the twelve survivors from the previous rounds. The six teams from the lower divisions will play six of the sides who are playing in Europe this season (Real Madrid, Villarreal, Barcelona and Atlético Madrid from the Champions League, and two from Sevilla, Racing Santander and Valencia, participating in the UEFA Cup). The six second division A sides will be drawn against the remaining side from the UEFA cup participants, Spain's representative in the Intertoto cup (Deportivo), and four of the other first division sides. That will leave eight first division sides who will be drawn against each other. As mentioned above, ties take place over two legs, with the first leg at the ground of the lower division club.
Sixteen teams will therefore go in to a fifth round, where the draw will be free. The only proviso is that, where two sides of different divisions meet, the first leg will be played at the ground of the lower division side. As from the quarter finals this condition will no longer apply.
With Spain winning the Euro 2008 tournament and thereby qualifying for this summer's Confederations Cup, the final has been scheduled for Wednesday 13th May. The venue will be decided at a later date, possibly once the four semi-finalists are known. (22.07.08)
|First round||27 Aug|
|Second round||3 Sep|
|Third round||8 Oct|
|Fourth round first leg||29 Oct|
|Fourth round second leg||12 Nov|
|Fifth round first leg||7 Jan|
|Fifth round second leg||14 Jan|
|Quarter-finals first leg||24 Jan|
|Quarter-finals second leg||28 Jan|
|Semi-finals (two legs)||4 Feb / 4 Mar|