Brazilian football league system

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Brazilian football league system
Nation
Flag of Brazil.svg  Brazil
Brazil Labelled Map.svg
States
Bandeira do Acre.svg  Acre
Bandeira de Alagoas.svg  Alagoas
Bandeira do Amapa.svg  Amapá
Bandeira do Amazonas.svg  Amazonas
Bandeira da Bahia.svg  Bahia
Bandeira do Ceara.svg  Ceará
Bandeira do Distrito Federal (Brasil).svg  Distrito Federal
Bandeira do Espirito Santo.svg  Espírito Santo
Flag of Goias.svg  Goiás
Bandeira do Maranhao.svg  Maranhão
Bandeira de Mato Grosso.svg  Mato Grosso
Bandeira de Mato Grosso do Sul.svg  Mato Grosso do Sul
Bandeira de Minas Gerais.svg  Minas Gerais
Bandeira do Para.svg  Pará
Bandeira da Paraiba.svg  Paraíba
Bandeira do Parana.svg  Paraná
Bandeira de Pernambuco.svg  Pernambuco
Bandeira do Piaui.svg  Piauí
Bandeira do estado do Rio de Janeiro.svg  Rio de Janeiro
Bandeira do Rio Grande do Norte.svg  Rio Grande do Norte
Bandeira do Rio Grande do Sul.svg  Rio Grande do Sul
Bandeira de Rondonia.svg  Rondônia
Bandeira de Roraima.svg  Roraima
Bandeira de Santa Catarina.svg  Santa Catarina
Bandeira do estado de Sao Paulo.svg  São Paulo
Bandeira de Sergipe.svg  Sergipe
Bandeira do Tocantins.svg  Tocantins
Current National Champions (2020)
Série A: Flamengo

Série B: Chapecoense

Série C: Vila Nova

Série D: Mirassol

Copa do Brasil: Palmeiras

The Brazilian football league system is a series of interconnected leagues for football clubs in Brazil. It consists of several independent pyramids, which are the national pyramid and the states pyramids. As these pyramids are independent, clubs usually compete in a state pyramid and a national pyramid. Both the national pyramid and the states pyramids consist of several levels. The best placed teams in the states championships as well as the best clubs ranked in by the CBF compete in the Copa do Brasil.

Contents

Structure

There are two simultaneous and independent functioning pyramids in Brazil's football, the national pyramid, and the states pyramids.

While the national competitions are organized by CBF, the state championships are organized by the respective football federations of each state (for example, the Campeonato Pernambucano is organized by the Pernambuco Football Federation).

The national pyramid competitions start in May and end in December. The states pyramids has varying durations and schedules in each state. In states with clubs competing in the national first and second divisions, the states championships run from January/February to April/May.

Most states have at least one secondary tournament, involving smaller clubs not in the top two leagues of the national championship. These lesser championships runs from July to December. Besides the trophy, it may award the winner(s) places in the main tournament or in the Brazilian Cup next year.

Smaller states, whose clubs do not take part in national competitions have longer competitions, usually running during the "winter" months: April to October.

National league

In the national pyramid, there are four leagues, the Série A, Série B, the Série C and the Série D. The Série A, Série B and Série C currently consist of 20 teams each. Série D was contested by 40 teams, expanded to 68 in 2016. Série A and Série B are contested in a double-round-robin format by all clubs; Série C and Série D have regional groups. Each year, the four worst placed clubs in the Série A are relegated to the Série B and the four top placed clubs in the Série B are promoted to Série A. This relation of four promoted and four relegated is the same for the other levels.

The clubs competing in the Série D are the bottom four from last season's Série C and the best placed state championship clubs from the previous season which are not competing in the Série A, B or C. Clubs that are successful in their state leagues can rise higher in the pyramid, be promoted to the Série D, and eventually to higher levels. Some state federations organize special competitions with the purpose of qualifying teams to the Série D.

As a result of the rules detailed above, it is possible (and not unheard of) for a minor state championship club to rise to the Série A, and become successful in the competition. To achieve this, a club must qualify in the state championship and, later, qualify in Séries D, C and B. Examples of clubs that went all the way up from the least state league until Série A are: Paraná Clube (founded in 1989, played Série A in 1993), São Caetano (founded in 1989, played Série A in 2000 and finished runner-up), Brasiliense (founded in 2000, played Série A in 2005), Grêmio Barueri (founded in 1989, played Série A in 2009) and Ipatinga (founded 1998, to play Série A in 2008). None of them are in 2015 Série A, but Paraná and São Caetano had a relative success in Série A for a while. Brasiliense and Ipatinga, however, never played a second year in this competition, being quickly relegated to Série B. Grêmio Barueri, for its part, only lasted in the first level for two years, before being relegated. The latter three teams eventually participated in the Série D in 2014, failing on achieving promotion.

The reverse is also possible: a club from Série A can eventually be relegated to the very least state league. A recent example is the rich in history América-MG (founded in 1912, relegated from Série A in 2001, to Série C in 2005 and to state second division in 2007). América played in the Série C in 2008 and 2009, avoiding the Série D. The club is back to National competitions and to its state first division, reaching Série A in 2011, although relegated to Série B in 2012. Currently, at least seven clubs (Fluminense, Náutico, Fortaleza, Vitória, Bahia, Guarani and América-MG) have been relegated to Série C and successfully reappeared in Série A. Santa Cruz, a Série A club in 2006, fell to Série D in 2010, but in 2016 is back to the top flight. Other clubs formerly in Série A, that were relegated to Séries C, D and below have not so far recovered their strength. For example, America (as of 2020, only playing in the state league), Remo (as of 2020, in the Série C), Juventude (as of 2020, in the Série B), América de Natal (as of 2020, in the Série D), Guarani (as of 2020, in the Série B) and Paysandu (as of 2020, in the Série C).

Since the national and state pyramids are independent a team can be in a national division and also be in a lower division in the state league in the same season. In 2018, Oeste played both the national Série B and the São Paulo state Série A2, the São Paulo state league second level.

State leagues

In the state pyramid, which consists of several independent state championships, the participating clubs, which also include Série A, Série B and Série C clubs, are limited to their own states (however, there are some minor exceptions, like in the Campeonato Brasiliense, where Unaí from Minas Gerais, and Luziânia and Bosque Formosa Esporte Clube from Goiás also compete, due to their proximity to Brasília, the capital of the Brazilian Federal District. [1] The leagues are usually divided in two, three or four levels. The number of clubs per level, as well as the number of levels, are different in each state. For example, in São Paulo there are 16 clubs in the first level, but in Minas Gerais there are 12, and in Rondônia there are just eight clubs. Also, the number of promoted and relegated clubs are different from one state to the other. Since 2009, the best placed clubs in the state leagues not already qualified for Série A, B, or C qualify for the Série D.

State championships may include obscure formats or experiment with proposed innovations in rules. As the Série A, Série B and Série C clubs usually have to be seeded to avoid fixture congestion, some rules adopted may be quite unfair. In the 2008 Campeonato Carioca, the big four (Botafogo, Flamengo, Fluminense and Vasco da Gama) always played home against the other participating clubs. [2]

Copa do Brasil

The Copa do Brasil is contested between the winners and best placed clubs of the previous season state championships, and by the best placed clubs in the CBF ranking. From 2013, it is played between the months of April and November.

State cups

The state cups are usually played during the second half of the year, after the state championships have concluded. The participating teams are clubs not competing in the national championships and reserve teams of clubs competing in the national championships. Examples of such competitions are the Copa FGF, the Copa Paulista de Futebol and the Copa Rio.

Inter-state tournaments

Several inter-state club championships have been held along the decades, such as the Torneio Rio-São Paulo (1933-1966, 1993, 1997-2002), Copa Centro-Oeste (1999-2002), Copa Norte (1997-2002), Copa Sul-Minas (2000-2002), Copa do Nordeste (held intermittently since 1994), Copa Verde (since 2014), and Primeira Liga (2016-2017).

Current system

LevelLeague/Division
National Championships
1 Campeonato Brasileiro Série A
20 clubs
Bottom four teams relegated
2 Campeonato Brasileiro Série B
20 clubs
Top four teams promoted
Bottom four teams relegated
3 Campeonato Brasileiro Série C
20 clubs divided in 2 groups of 10
Top two teams of Second stage groups promoted
Bottom two teams of First stage groups relegated
4 Campeonato Brasileiro Série D
68 clubs
Preliminary round with 8 clubs, then 64 clubs divided in 8 groups of 8
Semifinalists promoted
No relegation1
State Championships1
5 State Championships Top Divisions
Acre - Alagoas - Amapá - Amazonas - Bahia - Ceará - Distrito Federal - Espírito Santo - Goiás - Maranhão - Mato Grosso - Mato Grosso do Sul - Minas Gerais - Pará - Paraíba - Paraná - Pernambuco - Piauí - Rio de Janeiro - Rio Grande do Norte - Rio Grande do Sul - Rondônia - Roraima - Santa Catarina - São Paulo - Sergipe - Tocantins
6 State Championships Second Divisions
Acre - Alagoas - Amazonas - Bahia - Ceará - Distrito Federal - Espírito Santo - Goiás - Maranhão - Mato Grosso - Mato Grosso do Sul - Minas Gerais - Pará - Paraíba - Paraná - Pernambuco - Rio de Janeiro - Rio Grande do Norte - Rio Grande do Sul - Santa Catarina - São Paulo - Sergipe - Tocantins
7 State Championships Third Divisions
Ceará - Goiás - Minas Gerais - Paraná - Rio de Janeiro - Rio Grande do Sul - Santa Catarina - São Paulo
8 State Championships Fourth Divisions
Rio de Janeiro - São Paulo

1The state championships are not officially hierarchically behind the Série D, but they are used by CBF as a way to promote clubs to the competition.

The teams playing in the four national divisions also play the state championships in the same year.

The state championships are the lowest level for professional clubs.

There are amateur competitions too, organized by the federation of each city. However, they are closed, and can't make it to the state main division without the approval of the board.

Current teams in Campeonato Brasileiro

Teams by state

In 2021 the following states will have teams in Series A, B and C. Rules for classification: 1) Most teams in A+B+C; 2) Most teams in A+B; 3) Most teams in A

Pos.StateABCTotal
1 Bandeira do estado de Sao Paulo.svg São Paulo 52512
2 Bandeira do Rio Grande do Sul.svg Rio Grande do Sul 3126
3 Bandeira do estado do Rio de Janeiro.svg Rio de Janeiro 2215
4 Bandeira do Parana.svg Paraná 1315
5 Bandeira de Santa Catarina.svg Santa Catarina 1225
6 Bandeira de Minas Gerais.svg Minas Gerais 2114
7 Bandeira do Ceara.svg Ceará 2024
8 Flag of Goias.svg Goiás 1203
9 Bandeira da Bahia.svg Bahia 1113
Bandeira de Pernambuco.svg Pernambuco 1113
11 Bandeira de Alagoas.svg Alagoas 0202
12 Bandeira do Para.svg Pará 0112
13 Bandeira de Mato Grosso.svg Mato Grosso 1001
14 Bandeira do Maranhao.svg Maranhão 0101
Bandeira de Sergipe.svg Sergipe 0101
16 Bandeira da Paraiba.svg Paraíba 0011
Bandeira do Amazonas.svg Amazonas 0011
Bandeira do Piaui.svg Piauí 0011

The teams from each state participating in the 2021 Campeonato Brasileiro Series A, B and C are listed below. Participation in Serie D varies every year.

Serie A

Number
of teams
State Team(s)
5Bandeira do estado de Sao Paulo.svg  São Paulo Corinthians, Palmeiras, Red Bull Bragantino, Santos and São Paulo
3Bandeira do Rio Grande do Sul.svg  Rio Grande do Sul Grêmio, Internacional and Juventude
2
Bandeira do Ceara.svg  Ceará Ceará and Fortaleza
Bandeira de Minas Gerais.svg  Minas Gerais América Mineiro and Atlético Mineiro
Bandeira do estado do Rio de Janeiro.svg  Rio de Janeiro Flamengo and Fluminense
1Bandeira da Bahia.svg  Bahia Bahia
Flag of Goias.svg  Goiás Atlético Goianiense
Bandeira de Mato Grosso.svg  Mato Grosso Cuiabá
Bandeira do Parana.svg  Paraná Athletico Paranaense
Bandeira de Pernambuco.svg  Pernambuco Sport
Bandeira de Santa Catarina.svg  Santa Catarina Chapecoense

Serie B

Number
of teams
State Team(s)
3Bandeira do Parana.svg  Paraná Coritiba, Londrina and Operário Ferroviário
2Bandeira de Alagoas.svg  Alagoas CRB and CSA
Flag of Goias.svg  Goiás Goiás and Vila Nova
Bandeira de Santa Catarina.svg  Santa Catarina Avaí and Brusque
Bandeira do estado de Sao Paulo.svg  São Paulo Guarani and Ponte Preta
Bandeira do estado do Rio de Janeiro.svg  Rio de Janeiro Botafogo and Vasco da Gama
1Bandeira da Bahia.svg  Bahia Vitória
Bandeira do Maranhao.svg  Maranhão Sampaio Corrêa
Bandeira de Minas Gerais.svg  Minas Gerais Cruzeiro
Bandeira do Para.svg  Pará Remo
Bandeira de Pernambuco.svg  Pernambuco Náutico
Bandeira do Rio Grande do Sul.svg  Rio Grande do Sul Brasil de Pelotas
Bandeira de Sergipe.svg  Sergipe Confiança

Serie C

Number
of teams
State Team(s)
5Bandeira do estado de Sao Paulo.svg  São Paulo Botafogo-SP, Ituano, Mirassol, Novorizontino and Oeste
2Bandeira do Ceara.svg  Ceará Ferroviário and Floresta
Bandeira do Rio Grande do Sul.svg  Rio Grande do Sul São José and Ypiranga
Bandeira de Santa Catarina.svg  Santa Catarina Criciúma and Figueirense
1Bandeira do Amazonas.svg  Amazonas Manaus
Bandeira da Bahia.svg  Bahia Jacuipense
Bandeira de Minas Gerais.svg  Minas Gerais Tombense
Bandeira do Para.svg  Pará Paysandu
Bandeira da Paraiba.svg  Paraíba Botafogo-PB
Bandeira do Parana.svg  Paraná Paraná
Bandeira de Pernambuco.svg  Pernambuco Santa Cruz
Bandeira do Piaui.svg  Piauí Altos
Bandeira do estado do Rio de Janeiro.svg  Rio de Janeiro Volta Redonda

State league pyramid examples

The Campeonato Paulista table below is an example of a state league pyramid. It is divided in four levels. The first three levels are disputed by a fixed number of teams each, while the fourth level can be disputed by any clubs not in the first three levels. As of 2020, 42 teams had taken place on the state's fourth level. The competitions are organized by the São Paulo Football Federation.

Campeonato Paulista
LevelLeague/Division
1 Série A1
16 clubs
2 Série A2
16 clubs
3 Série A3
16 clubs
4 Segunda Divisão
42 clubs

The Campeonato Catarinense table below is another example of a state league pyramid. It is divided in three levels. The first two levels are disputed by 10 teams each. As of 2018 the third level was disputed by only 8 clubs. The competitions are organized by the Santa Catarina Football Federation.

Campeonato Catarinense
LevelLeague/Division
1 Série A
10 clubs
2Série B
10 clubs
3Série C
8 clubs

The Campeonato Mineiro table below is another example of a state league pyramid. It is divided in three levels. The first and second levels are played by 12 teams each. As of 2019, the third level had 16 participants. The competitions are organized by the Minas Gerais Football Federation.

Campeonato Mineiro
LevelLeague/Division
1 Módulo I
12 clubs
2 Módulo II
12 clubs
3 Segunda Divisão
16 clubs

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References

  1. "Favorito ao título, Brasiliense apenas empata com o Esportivo" (in Portuguese). FBA (Futebol Brasil Associados). Archived from the original on September 30, 2007. Retrieved August 7, 2007.
  2. "Carioca de 2008 tem fórmula e grupos definidos" (in Portuguese). Gazeta Esportiva. Archived from the original on January 15, 2008. Retrieved February 11, 2008.