Tiers – Série A, Série B & Série C (made up of sixteen divisions).
Cup competitions – Copa do Brasil.
Other competitions – State Championships.
Traditionally Brazil is a hotbed of footballing talent and passion and this is well represented in Football Manager with players possessing fantastic technical attributes from a young age even in the lower levels. Mental and physical attributes don’t measure up quite as well unfortunately. Money is tight at the vast majority of Brazilian clubs and even if you manage to build up your bank balance you’ll only be able attract players from other South American nations as a general rule. Playing in Brazil will test you tactically as the AI managers use a wide range of formations and playing styles.
Brazil’s top division consists of 20 clubs who play each other twice between early-May and early-December. Squads must contain no more than three foriegn players all of whom may be named in a match day squad which allows for seven substitutes (three of which may be used).
Domestic transfers may be conducted between the 1st of January and the last Saturday in September while any foriegn transfer deal must take place in either the January or August window.
Points are awarded in the standard way (3 for a win, 1 for a draw) with tied teams being split based on the following criteria:
* Matches won
* Goal difference
* Goals scored
* Head to head results
At the end of the season the bottom four teams are automatically relegated to Série B.
Any player being shown either three yellow cards or a single red card will suffer a one match ban.
The second tier of Brazilian football is also made up of 20 clubs who each play one another twice, however the season finishes at the end of November a week earlier than Série A.
Série B’s top four clubs are promoted to Série A without the need for any play-offs while the bottom four clubs simply drop into Série C.
Aside from these minor points the division operates in exactly the same way as Série A.
Série C works somewhat differently from the other divisions in Brazil as teams are split into sixteen groups. Each club plays the other teams in its group twice between late-June and mid-September. The top two clubs in each group then advance to the Second Round while the bottom two clubs from each group are relegated. All the other rules regarding separating tied teams, transfer windows, squads and discipline are the same as they are in Série A and Série B.
The Second Round of Série C is a two-legged knock-out competition with both legs being played within a few days of each other. Away goals are used to decide matches that are still tied after 90 minutes of the second-leg. The winners of the Second Round progress to the Third Round which follows the same format. The winners of the Third Round then qualify for the Final Stage.
The Final Stage group comprises eight clubs who play each other twice. The rules for this mini-league follow those of Série A and Série B. At the end of the tournament the clubs finishing first through to fourth are promoted to Série B.
Copa do Brasil.
The Copa do Brasil sees 64 clubs play a two-legged cup competition which starts in February. The first two rounds give first-leg home advantage to the team from the lowest division. Away goals decide any ties still level after 90 minutes of the second-leg.
The remaining rounds (Third Round, Quarter-Final, Semi-Final and the Final) are also staged over two-legs but lower division sides are no longer guaranteed to play at home in the first-leg.
The rules regarding player discipline and squads are exactly the same as those for the league competitions.
The Brazilian State Championships are regional tournaments that are used to gain local bragging rights, determine the qualifiers for the Copa do Brasil and to decide which non-league clubs will gain promotion to Série C. Clubs from all divisions take part in the tournaments which have a range of formats, some of which are frankly, a little strange. Here are two examples…
The Acre State Championship is a straight forward, league style competition in which six teams play each other twice. The standard Brazilian league rules govern the tournament and the team finishing top is crowned Acre State Champion. The team finishing bottom after their fifteen matches is relegated.
The Santa Catarina State Championship on the other hand is a little more complex, but it is by no means the most complicated of the tournaments. The tournament starts with two group stages, both consisting of six teams, where each team plays the other teams in its group twice. Once these fixtures have been completed the top two teams in each group progress to the semi-finals, while the bottom team in each group is relegated. The Semi-Finals are played over two-legs with away goals deciding any matches still tied after 90 minutes of the second-leg. The winners of these matches obviously qualify for the Final which is played using the same format. Standard Brazilian league rules are employed throughout the tournament.