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Segunda B League Decline in Spain

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Aside from those teams relegated from La Liga, Spain's second division has also included the reserve teams of the country's top soccer clubs, known as B teams. These B teams allowed sides to nurture new talent at minimal cost, as well as to recycle older players. But reserve teams cannot play in the same division as their senior team, and are thus ineligible for promotion to La Liga. Reserve teams are also no longer permitted to enter the Spanish Cup. In short, there is often no incentive for a reserve side to do well. This was illustrated last season by Sevilla Athletico, Sevilla's reserve side, which won one only one game all season and was relegated to the third division, known as Segunda B. Following the Bosman ruling, young players who do not quickly make it up to the main team move on to other sides. When players move on, they are often replaced by younger players who are not up to the standards required, unless they are foreign players.

Villareal B was promoted from the Segunda B two seasons ago and is one of the few sides in Spain to invest in developing new talent. Team president José Mauel Llaneza told El Pais. 'We invest around €5m in young players and around 40 per cent of that amount goes to the reserve side.' Villareal B coach Juan Carlos Garrido said, 'We try to find a balance between young players who want to move up and older players who are happy playing at the second-division level. I have to say we are a bit tired of playing against second division sides who are not really interested in winning and are barely able to play well enough not to lose every time.' Espanyol B, who moved from the fourth to the third division, partly through the use of more experienced players, think there is too much pressure on younger players to move up. The side's coach, Josep Manel Casanova, commented, 'If a player is any good, then he is immediately on track to move to the main team, or to another in the second division. The agents are as much to blame. It creates a lot of instability.'