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The Campeonato Brasileiro da Série A (officialy called Brasileirão) is the highest division of Brazilian football. It is composed of 20 teams; currently, the bottom four teams in Série A are relegated and the top four teams in Série B are promoted. São Paulo has been the most successful team in the competition, having won it on six occasions.

Due to historical peculiarities and the large geographical size of the country, Brazil has a relatively short history of nation-wide football competitions. The modern Campeonato Brasileiro only started in 1971, supported by the military regime of the time and made easier by the advancements in civil aviation and air transport. Before the establishment of a national league the most prestigious football competitions in Brazil were the state leagues, notably the Campeonato Paulista and Campeonato Carioca state championships of Sao Paulomarker and Rio de Janeiromarker states. Most state competitions have a much longer history than the national competition and, consequently, the various state leagues were considered more prestigious than the national league until recently.

Controversies aside, the CBF does not officially recognize the national tournaments from 1959 to 1970 as national titles, even though they were organized by the Brazilian Sports Confederation (CBD), CBF's predecessor from 1919 to 1979. This includes the Taça Brasil, which featured clubs from all regions of Brazil and Torneio Roberto Gomes Pedrosa, popularly known as "Robertão", which featured clubs from the most representative regions of Brazil.

Controversial history

In 1979, all big clubs from São Paulomarker, except Palmeiras, withdrew from competition. They protested against the odd system of tier qualification which made their rivals, Palmeiras and Guarani, enter only in the final phase (due to them being previous-year finalists) and also asking for the same privileges. Indeed oddly enough, Guarani finished in the top 12 playing only 3 games and Palmeiras finished third despite playing only 5 games in a tournament with 96 entrants.

In 1984, Juventus, a small club from São Paulo, managed to qualify for the Série A. Participants of that year could be promoted from and relegated to Série B in the middle of the tournament. Juventus thus started the tournament in the premiership, was relegated in the middle of the tournament but eventually managed to clinch the Série B title. Despite this the team was not promoted to Série A in the following year and failed to qualify to it from the state championship.

In 1999, an averaging relegation system similar to the one used in the Primera División Argentina was adopted. The two clubs with the worst point results in the first stage of the two previous seasons were to be relegated. However, this system only lasted for a single season.

In 2005, each team played 42 games, 21 home and 21 away, for a total of 462 games. The champion and runner-up automatically qualified for the 2006 Copa Libertadores. The third and fourth placed teams may also represent Brazil in the Libertadores by defeating foreign clubs to be determined by CONMEBOL in pre-tournament trials. The champion and 5th through 11th placed teams also win the right to represent Brazil in the Copa Sudamericana, another South American championship of lower stature. The four lowest ranked teams (19th, 20th, 21st and 22nd) were relegated to the following year's Série B.

Eleven matches of the 2005 competition were annulled due to a match-fixing scandal and had to be replayed.

The seasons with the largest number of entrants of the competition were: 2000 (116 entrants), 1979 (94 entrants) and 1986 (80 entrants).

Format and competition rules

Since 2003, the Série A has been contested in a double round-robin format and the team with most points is declared champion. There is no final match, which is a very controversial subject. Prior to 2003, the Brazilian championship had traditionally been decided with some type of playoff format (most commonly the "Octagonal", where the top 8 regular season teams comprise a single elimination tournament), rather than the European model of points accumulation over a season. Although some purists complain that this system lacks the dramatic scenes of playoffs and finals, the competition has so far shown to be well balanced, without a small number of clubs dominating the league, a phenomenon often found in many European leagues.

For the 2006 season, the number of contestants was reduced to 20 and CBF claims it to be the "definitive" format. In 2006, a limit on the number of foreign players was set, such that no team can have more than three foreign players on the field or on the bench in a single match.

Before 2003, the format of Série A changed almost every year; for specifics, see Campeonato Brasileiro tournament scheduling.

Statistics

The only club to win a championship undefeated was Internacional, in 1979, with 15 wins and 7 draws. Also, in a match between Goiás and Cruzeiro, in the same year, 14 players were sent off.

In 1977 Atlético-MGmarker had ended undefeated, but they lost to São Paulo in penalties.

Roberto Dinamite is the player with most goals scored in Campeonato Brasileiro history. Dinamite scored 190 in 20 seasons (1971-1989).

As of 2009, only Cruzeiromarker, Flamengo and Internacional participated in all editions of the Série A.

In 2003 Cruzeiro reached its first title with the best campaing in the history of Campeonato Brasileiro, scoring 100 points and 106 goals along the year.

Awards and trophies

Prêmio Craque do Brasileirão is the league's official award. Placar magazine's Bola de Ouro is the oldest award, while the Troféu Osmar Santos and the Troféu João Saldanha are awards given by the newspaper Lance!.

Teams currently playing Série A

There are 20 teams qualified to play in 2009:



Champions of Série A

Official champions

Below is the table of Campeonato Brasileiro Série A champions according to the Brazilian Football Confederation:

Year Winner Runner-up Comments Entrants
1971
Details
Three-team final stage. Botafogo eventually finished third. 20
Year Winner Score Runner-up Comments Entrants
1972
Details
0 - 0 Palmeiras declared champions due to better season record 26
Year Winner Runner-up Comments Entrants
1973
Details
Four-team final stage. Palmeiras drew with São Paulo by 0X0 on last stage match 40
Year Winner Score Runner-up Comments Entrants
1974
Details
2 - 1 Four-team final stage. Extra tie-break match 40
1975
Details
1 - 0 46
1976
Details
2 - 0 54
1977
Details
0 - 0 São Paulo won 3-2 on penalties. 60
1978
Details
1 - 0
1 - 0
74
1979
Details
2 - 0
2 - 1
Internacional became champions without losing one single game, a deed yet unmatched. 96
1980
Details
0 - 1
3 - 2
104
1981
Details
2 - 1
1 - 0
88
1982
Details
1 - 1
0 - 0
1 - 0

88
1983
Details
1 - 2
3 - 0
88
1984
Details
1 - 0
0 - 0
72
1985
Details
1 - 1

Coritiba won 6-5 on penalties. 40
1986
Details
1 - 1
3 - 3
São Paulo won 4-3 on penalties. 80
1987(1)
Details
1 - 1
1 - 0
Four-team final stage turned home-and-away playoff 32
1988
Details
2 - 1
0 - 0
24
1989
Details
1 - 0 Second final-series match unnecessary as Vasco had a better season record and won the away match 22
1990
Details
1 - 0
1 - 0
20
1991
Details
1 - 0
0 - 0
20
1992
Details
3 - 0
2 - 2
20
1993
Details
1 - 0
2 - 0
32
1994
Details
3 - 1
1 - 1
24
1995
Details
2 - 1
1 - 1
24
1996
Details
0 - 2
2 - 0
Grêmio declared champions due to better season record. 24
1997
Details
0 - 0
0 - 0
Vasco da Gama declared champions due to better season record 26
1998
Details
2 - 2
1 - 1
2 - 0

24
1999
Details
2 - 3
2 - 0
0 - 0

22
2000(2)
Details
1 - 1
3 - 1
Organized by Clube dos 13 on CBF's behalf, and dubbed Copa João Havelange 116
2001
Details
4 - 2
1 - 0
28
2002
Details
2 - 0
3 - 2
26
Year Winner Runner-up Comments Entrants
2003
Details

100 pts / 46 matches

87 pts / 46 matches
From 2003 onwards, the regular season group play followed by play-offs was replaced by a double round-robin system. The team with the most points at the end of the season is declared the champion. 24
2004
Details

89 pts / 46 matches

86 pts / 46 matches
24
2005
Details

81 pts / 42 matches

78 pts / 42 matches
A refereeing scandal led to a controversial refixturing of 11 matches, the original outcome changing in the majority of games 22
2006
Details

78 pts / 38 matches

69 pts / 38 matches
|20
2007
Details

77 pts / 38 matches

62 pts / 38 matches
São Paulo becomes the first team to officially win five Brazilian championships. 20
2008
Details

75 pts / 38 matches

72 pts / 38 matches
São Paulo becomes the first team to be officially recognized by Brazilian Football Confederation as having won 6 Brazilian championships as well as had won it 3 times in a row. 20


Unofficial champions

At odds with the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF), which could not come up with a formula for the national championship, the thirteen most popular clubs in Brazil created a league, known as the Clube dos 13, to organize a tournament of their own. This championship was called Copa União and was run by the 16 clubs that took part in it (Santa Cruz, Coritiba and Goiás were invited to join), completely free from CBF authority (a move not unlike the creation of club-administered football leagues all over Europe).

Left to organize a championship without the big thirteen, which would have been a huge fiasco, the CBF came up with a formula that would force the champions and the runner-ups of the Copa União to face the best two teams of the tournament the CBF itself had promoted, also called Módulo Amarelo (Yellow Module). The move, however, was never approved by the Clube dos 13, which rejected any play-off between their own champions and those of the CBF tournament.

Consequently, Flamengo and Internacional, winners and runner-ups of the Copa União, refused to face Sport and Guarani, which had shared the Yellow Module title after deciding to interrupt a penalty shoot-out. Since Flamengo and Internacional did not show up, the CBF championship finals consisted only of a rematch of the Yellow Module finals. In the first game, in Campinas, both teams tied 1-1. On February 7, 1988, Sport beat Guarani 1-0 and became the first Northeastern team to win the national title (a feat only matched by Bahia in the 1988 championship).

Clube dos 13 and the Sports National Council, the competent judicial body to settle the issue at the time, both ruled in favour of Flamengo and Internacional, thus declaring Flamengo as the 1987 Brazilian Champions. The CBF, however, regardless of the CND decision, declared Sport to be the national champions, and the club, along with Guarani, represented Brazil in the 1988 Copa Libertadores de América.

Despite not being recognized by the CBF, several sources list Flamengo and Internacional as respectively the 1987's winners and runner-ups together or instead of the official ones:

Year Winner Score Runner-up Comments Entrants
1987(1)
Details
1 - 1
1 - 0
Organized by Clube dos 13, dubbed Copa União, not recognized by CBF, but recognized by the Clube dos 13, and CND 16


Titles by team

Below are the titles by team, according to the Brazilian Football Confederation, thus excluding the 1987 Copa União, won by Flamengo:

Club State Titles
São Paulo 6 titles
Corinthians 4 titles
Flamengo (1) 4 titles
Palmeiras 4 titles
Vasco(2) 4 titles
Internacional 3 titles
Grêmio 2 titles
Santos 2 titles
Atlético-MGmarker 1 title
Guarani 1 title
Fluminense 1 title
Coritiba 1 title
Sport(1) 1 title
Bahia 1 title
Botafogo 1 title
Atlético-PR 1 title
Cruzeiromarker 1 title


Titles by state

Below are the titles by state, according to the Brazilian Football Confederation, thus excluding the 1987 Copa União, won by Flamengo (from Rio de Janeiro state):
State Titles
17 titles
10 titles(1) (2)
5 titles
2 titles
2 titles
1 title
1 title(1)


Titles by decade


1970s


Team

3
Internacional
2
Palmeiras
1
Atlético-MG, Guarani, São Paulo, Vasco da Gama

1980s


Team

3(1)
Flamengo(1)
1
Bahia, Coritiba, Fluminense, Grêmio, São Paulo, Sport(1), Vasco da Gama

1990s


Team

3
Corinthians
2
Palmeiras
1
Botafogo, Flamengo, Grêmio, São Paulo, Vasco da Gama

2000s


Team

3
São Paulo
2
Santos
1
Atlético-PR, Corinthians, Cruzeiro, Vasco da Gama(2)


1The championship of 1987 was controversial as CBF faced scission from Clube dos 13 which decided to organize the 1987 premiership on its own.
The latter, dubbed Copa União, had Flamengo and Internacional as champion and runner-up.
Despite signing an agreement with CBF in order avoid being banned by FIFA, both teams backed by Clube dos 13 decided not to match their title with CBF's tournament winners in order to unify the title.
As a result, the CBF disqualified the two teams from the finals and awarded the title to Sport, who had won the yellow module, organized by the confederation.


2 The championship was not organised by CBF because Gama, in the 1999 championship, contested and won in a common justice court and reverted its relegation.
CBF was thus legally impeached of organizing it without including Gama and asked Clube dos 13 to act as a proxy while backing the competition.
The rules reproduced roughly previous tournaments with a regular season and play-offs, though all teams legally had to be able to dispute, thus 1999 clubs were not relegated.
Due to another justice decision, Gama was included in the championship.
The competition was officially recognized by the Brazilian Football Confederation.


Top scorers

Below is a list of the last ten years Campeonato Brasileiro Série A top scorers:

Year Player Club State Goals
1999 Guilherme Atlético Mineiromarker 28
2000 Dill Goiás 20
Magno Alves Fluminense 20
Romário Vasco da Gama 20
2001 Romário Vasco da Gama 21

2002 Luís Fabiano São Paulo 19
Rodrigo Fabri Grêmio 19
2003 Dimba Goiás 30
2004 Washington Atlético Paranaense 34
2005 Romário Vasco da Gama 22
2006 Souza Goiás 17
2007 Josiel Paraná 20
2008 Washington Fluminense 21
Keirrison Coritiba 21
Kléber Pereira

Santos 21


See also



References

External links




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