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Copa del Rey 2011-12

As in previous years, the three initial rounds of the Spanish cup will be played over one leg, with 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 26 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 six 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. Eight 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 eight exempt sides will join the 20 second division A sides (excluding Barcelona B and Villarreal B). The 2A sides will play off against each other in one section of the draw, and the lower division sides will also be drawn against each other in another section. Again matches will take place over one leg.

Third round: Once again the 2A sides and the lower division sides will be kept apart, with the 10 winners from the 2A grouping playing off against each other. 12 of the 13 lower division winners from the second round will also meet each other, with one team getting a bye to the fourth round.

Fourth round:The 20 first division clubs will only enter the competition in round four together with the twelve survivors from the previous rounds. The seven teams from the lower divisions will play the seven sides who are playing in Europe this season (Barcelona, Real Madrid, Valencia and Villarreal from the Champions League, and Sevilla, Athletic Bilbao and Atlético Madrid from the Europa League). The five second division A sides will be drawn against the remaining sides from the first division. 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.

Fifth round onwards: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.

The final this season has been scheduled for either Sunday 20th May, or Friday 25th May, depending on whether one of the cup finalists is also in the Champions League final or not. The venue will be decided at a later date, possibly once the four semi-finalists are known. (31.07.11)

After much debate, it was decided that the cup final will take place in Atlético Madrid's Calderón stadium on 25th May. (06.03.12)

First round 31 Aug
Second round 7 Sep
Third round 12 Oct
Fourth round first leg 13 Dec
Fourth round second leg 21 Dec
Fifth round first leg 4 Jan
Fifth round second leg 11 Jan
Quarter-finals first leg 18 Jan
Quarter-finals second leg 25 Jan
Semi-finals (two legs) 1 Feb / 8 Feb
Final 25 May