State football leagues in Brazil

The Brazilian states football championships (Portuguese: Campeonatos Estaduais or simply Estaduais) are the professional adult male football competitions in Brazil that take place between January and April for the Northeast, Central-West, Southeast and South regions. In some states from the North Region, however, it takes place in May or June.[1][2] One such league, the Campeonato Paulista, which started in 1902, is the oldest football competition in Brazil.[3] All professional football clubs in Brazil play in a state championship, but not all qualify for the national league.

State football leagues
Number of teamsDepends on the states
Level on pyramid5–9
Promotion toCopa do Nordeste (northeast)
Copa Verde (north, center-west and Espírito Santo)
Copa do Brasil
Série D
Relegation toSeveral state divisions
Grêmio vs. União Frederiquense for 2015 Campeonato Gaúcho

The state championships were the first professional competitions formed in Brazil, due economic and geographic reasons and especially long distances between the country's main cities and different states, each of the federative units of Brazil created their own football championship.[4] As such, state leagues were the main competition and even after the creation of a proper national championship in 1971 the state leagues remained prestigious and important for Brazilian fans up to the 1980s and 1990s, when national and continental competitions surpassed them in terms of relevance. Before the 1989 Campeonato Brasileiro, clubs qualified to the national league through their performances at their state's league.[5] Currently, state championships serve as a pre-season for the Brazilian championship and main season for smaller teams that are not in any national competitions.[1][2]

The state championships run as a parallel league to the main Brazilian Championships. Clubs compete in both Brazilian and state championships simultaneously, and each state league has its own format and divisions with promotion and relegation. Good standings in the tables qualify teams for the next year's Copa do Brasil,[6] regional tournaments Copa do Nordeste and Copa Verde, and teams without a national division qualify for the next year's Campeonato Brasileiro Série D.[7]


São Paulo Athletic Club and CA Paulistano in the final of the first São Paulo State Championship in 1902

Historically, for economic and geographic reasons, such as long distances between the country's main cities, the state leagues were considered the most important championship for Brazilian clubs, especially before 1959, when a regular national championship (Taça Brasil) was first established. In recent years, bigger clubs have become increasingly critical of the state leagues, which are often blamed for the lack of space in Brazil's football calendar and have lost most of its old prestige.[1][2] Smaller clubs, however, are dependent on the state leagues for their financial well-being and largely oppose calls to reduce the number of games or even end state leagues altogether.

Match between Botafogo and Fluminese (a derby known as Clássico Vovô) for the Campeonato Carioca

Because of these championships, some disputes between rivals from the same state or city have the same weight or greater than a dispute with the main clubs in other states. These games are called derbies. Some examples are the Fla-Flu and the Clássico dos Milhões, in Rio de Janeiro; Paulista Derby, Choque Rei, Majestoso and San-São, in São Paulo; Grenal, in Rio Grande do Sul; the Clássico Mineiro, in Minas Gerais; Atle-tiba, in Paraná; the Clássico dos Clássicos and Clássico das Multidões, in Pernambuco; the Ba-Vi, in Bahia; the Clássico de Florianópolis and the Clássico do Interior, in Santa Catarina; Clássico-Rei, in Ceará, between Ceará and Fortaleza, and in Rio Grande do Norte between ABC and América de Natal; the Re-Pa, in Pará; Clássico das Multidões in Alagoas; the Super Clássico, in Maranhão; Rivengo, in Piauí; the Clássico dos Maiorais, in Paraíba; Derby Sergipano, in Sergipe; the Derby do Cerrado, in Goiás; the Rio-Nal, in Amazonas; the Clássico dos Gigantes, in Espírito Santo; between others.

State champions and runners-up, and in some states, the highest placed on the state championship table, are automatically qualified to play in the next year's Copa do Brasil.[6][full citation needed] In addition, the highest ranked clubs in each state that do not compete in the Brazilian Championship Serie A, Serie B or Serie C qualify for next year's Serie D. Finally, the best teams in each state league can also qualify for regional cups such as the Copa do Nordeste (for Northeastern clubs) and Copa Verde (for clubs from North and Center-West regions). To prepare for the State Championship, divisionless clubs, lacking a full-year calendar, play training games and some choose to face Municipal Selections in different regions.

Campeonato Acreano (for the state of Acre) between Atlético Acreano and Alto Acre, 2015

The only state championship that does not use the official gentile of those born in the state is the one in Rio de Janeiro, since, popularly, the tournament is called Campeonato Carioca (Carioca is the official gentile of the municipality of Rio de Janeiro), instead of Campeonato Fluminense. This occurs for three reasons: the first because of tradition, since the big clubs in the state, when Rio de Janeiro was still the capital of Brazil, disputed the Campeonato Carioca and not the Campeonato Fluminense; the second because popular and culturally Carioca is the gentile by which its inhabitants are usually known outside the state of Rio de Janeiro,[8] and the third because there is a traditional club in the state called Fluminense, which could generate complaints from rivals if the championship were so called. Because of this, the Rio state football championship is officially called the Campeonato Estadual do Rio de Janeiro

Match for the Carioca Championship between Botafogo from the city of Rio de Janeiro and Resende Futebol Clube from the city of Resende, in the interior of the state of Rio de Janeiro. Unlike other states, the Carioca Championship uses the city's gentile and not the state's[8]

The club with the most state champions in Brazil is ABC, with 57 titles from Campeonato Potiguar, which gives it the world record for the most titles in the same competition. This team also holds the record for straight titles, ten (between 1932 and 1941), alongside América Mineiro (which won the Campeonato Mineiro successively between 1916 and 1925). Bahia is the second biggest champion and Paysandu, the third.[9]

The players most often champions are the left midfielder Quarentinha, with 12 titles, all for Paysandu, between the 1950s and the 1970s, being the one with the most triumphs in a single state and by the same club;[10] defender Durval, who in 2017 also won his 12th state title, in 5 FUs (each for a single team), among trophies accumulated since 2003 between the Campeonato Paraibano, Brasiliense, Paranaense, Pernambucano (6) and Paulista (3) championships;[11] the midfielder Givanildo Oliveira, winner of 10 Pernambucanos, as well as a Paulista and a Carioca; and Jorge Henrique, who is perhaps the player who won in more states, as he was champion 12 times by 8 teams in 8 FUs (CE, DF, PE (3), PR, RJ, RS (2), SC and SP (2). As a coach, the same Givanildo won 18 state teams for 10 teams in 6 FUs, an absolute record: 7 Paraenses, 5 Pernambucanos, 2 Cearenses, 2 Alagoanos, 1 Baiano and 1 Mineiro. This adds up to 30 state commemorations for Givanildo, an isolated record holder. Another big winner is Vanderlei Luxemburgo, who won 14 times for 9 teams in 5 FUs (9 Paulistas, 2 Mineiros, 1 Carioca, 1 Capixaba and 1 Pernambucano) as a coach (already having three achievements as a player: 3 Cariocas), having nine titles this century, being tied at the top of this stat with Givanildo, who in turn is also the statewide winner for more different teams in the 21st century (8).[12]

List of state football leagues in Brazil

Federal unit Championship 2024 Champion Most Championships
  Acre Campeonato Acreano Independência (12th) Rio Branco (49)
  Alagoas Campeonato Alagoano CRB (34th) CSA (40)
  Amapá Campeonato Amapaense Macapá (17)
  Amazonas Campeonato Amazonense Manaus (6th) Nacional (43)
  Bahia Campeonato Baiano Vitória (30th) Bahia (50)
  Ceará Campeonato Cearense Ceará (46th) Ceará / Fortaleza (46)
  Distrito Federal Campeonato Brasiliense Ceilândia (3rd) Gama (13)
  Espírito Santo Campeonato Capixaba Rio Branco (38th) Rio Branco (38)
  Goiás Campeonato Goiano Atlético Goianiense (18th) Goiás (28)
  Maranhão Campeonato Maranhense Sampaio Corrêa (37th) Sampaio Corrêa (37)
  Mato Grosso Campeonato Mato-Grossense Cuiabá (13th) Mixto (24)
  Mato Grosso do Sul Campeonato Sul-Mato-Grossense Operário (13th) Operário (13)
  Minas Gerais Campeonato Mineiro Atlético Mineiro (49th) Atlético Mineiro (49)
  Pará Campeonato Paraense Paysandu (50th) Paysandu (50)
  Paraíba Campeonato Paraibano Sousa (3rd) Botafogo (30)
  Paraná Campeonato Paranaense Athletico Paranaense (28th) Coritiba (39)
  Pernambuco Campeonato Pernambucano Sport Recife (44th) Sport Recife (44)
  Piauí Campeonato Piauiense Altos (4th) Ríver (32)
  Rio de Janeiro Campeonato Carioca Flamengo (38th) Flamengo (38)
  Rio Grande do Norte Campeonato Potiguar América de Natal (38th) ABC (57)
  Rio Grande do Sul Campeonato Gaúcho Grêmio (43rd) Internacional (45)
  Rondônia Campeonato Rondoniense Porto Velho (4th) Ferroviário (17)
  Roraima Campeonato Roraimense GAS (1st) Baré (26)
  Santa Catarina Campeonato Catarinense Criciúma (12th) Avaí / Figueirense (18)
  São Paulo Campeonato Paulista Palmeiras (26th) Corinthians (30)
  Sergipe Campeonato Sergipano Confiança (23rd) Sergipe (37)
  Tocantins Campeonato Tocantinense União AC (2nd) Palmas (8)

Unrelegated football clubs

Championship Unrelegated teams (min. 10 years) Continuously in state league for 75 years or more
Acreano Rio Branco (1919–1921, 1928, 1930, 1935–) Plácido de Castro (2008–) Rio Branco (1935–)
Alagoano CRB (1927–)
ASA (1953–)
Amazonense Nacional (1914–)
Baiano Bahia (1931–)
Vitória (1920–1929, 1932–1936, 1938–)
Bahia (1931–)
Vitória (1938–)
Brasiliense Gama (1976–)
Carioca Botafogo (1906–)
Fluminense (1906–)
Flamengo (1912–)
Vasco da Gama (1921–)
Botafogo (1906–)
Fluminense (1906–)
Flamengo (1912–)
Vasco da Gama (1921–)
America (1908–2008)
Bangu (1915–2004)
Cearense Ceará (1915–)
Fortaleza (1918–)
Ceará (1915–)
Fortaleza (1918–)
Gaúcho Grêmio (1919–1926, 1930–1933, 1935, 1946, 1949, 1956–)
Juventude (1925, 1940, 1961–1971, 1976–)
Internacional (1927, 1934, 1936, 1940–1945, 1947–1948, 1950–1953, 1955, 1961–)
Goiano Goiás (1944–) Goiás (1944–)
Maranhense Sampaio Corrêa (1926–)
Mineiro Atlético Mineiro (1915–1923, 1925–)
Cruzeiro (1921–1925, 1927–)
Atlético Mineiro (1925–)
Cruzeiro (1927–)
América (1915–2007)
Paraense Paysandu
Paraibano Botafogo (1934–)
Botafogo (1934–)
Paranaense Coritiba (1915–)
Atlético Paranaense (1924–)
Coritiba (1915–)
Atlético Paranaense (1924–)
Paulista Corinthians (1913–1914, 1916–)
Santos (1913, 1916–2001, 2003–)
Palmeiras (1916–)
São Paulo (1930–1934, 1936–)
Corinthians (1916–)
Palmeiras (1916–)
São Paulo (1936–)
Santos (1916–2001)
Pernambucano Santa Cruz (1915–)
Náutico (1916–)
Sport Recife (1916–)
Santa Cruz (1915–)
Náutico (1916–)
Sport Recife (1916–)
América (1915–1995)
Piauiense Ríver
Potiguar ABC (1919–1951, 1953–)
América (1919–1959, 1966–)
Sergipano Confiança
Tocantinense Tocantinópolis (1993–)


  • Some clubs were licensed, but due to the absence of lower divisions, they were never relegated.
  • Some clubs like Vasco da Gama have disputed the second level before being promoted for the first time.
  • Some state leagues do not have enough data to determine the consecutive sequence of club participations.
  • Until the 50s, the Campeonato Gaúcho brought together the champions of each region of Rio Grande do Sul. Grêmio and Internacional disputed the Municipal Championship of Porto Alegre before to decide who would advance to the final stage.
  • Due to the 2002 Torneio Rio-São Paulo, Corinthians, Palmeiras, Santos and São Paulo did not compete in the regular edition of Campeonato Paulista. After the end of Rio-São Paulo, Corinthians, São Paulo and Palmeiras qualified, alongside Ituano to the dispute of the Supercampeonato Paulista. Santos, since it did not qualify for the Supercampeonato Paulista, had its series of participations interrupted.
  • As the Campeonato Roraima does not have a second level, in practice no club has been relegated yet, however Atlético Roraima is the only team that has played in all editions of the professional era.

Source: RSSSF Brasil

See also



  1. ^ a b c "MUDA, CALENDÁRIO: 'Fim dos estaduais se faz necessário'". Lance! (in Brazilian Portuguese). Archived from the original on June 20, 2017. Retrieved November 21, 2021.
  2. ^ a b c "MUDA, CALENDÁRIO: 'Sem charme, Estaduais têm de ser repensados'". Lance! (in Brazilian Portuguese). Archived from the original on June 20, 2017. Retrieved November 21, 2021.
  3. ^ "Como era São Paulo sem estádios de futebol". Estadão (in Brazilian Portuguese). Archived from the original on June 20, 2024. Retrieved July 12, 2023.
  4. ^ Duarte, Orlando; Jairo Giovenardi (February 2, 2008). "O diferencial no futebol brasileiro" (in Portuguese). Diário de Sorocaba. Retrieved February 19, 2009.[permanent dead link]
  5. ^ "A história do Campeonato Brasileiro de Futebol – Ranking de Clubes Brasileiros". April 8, 2023. Archived from the original on April 8, 2023. Retrieved October 22, 2023.
  6. ^ a b "Copa do Brasil de 2009" (PDF) (in Brazilian Portuguese). January 6, 2009. Archived from the original (PDF) on March 6, 2009. Retrieved July 13, 2023.
  7. ^ "Séries C e D do Brasileiro começam mais cedo em 2022 e mantêm quantidade de datas no calendário". ge (in Brazilian Portuguese). November 5, 2021. Archived from the original on May 17, 2023. Retrieved July 12, 2023.
  8. ^ a b Lucas, Jorge Alexandre (2014). "Somos todos cariocas: identidade e pertencimentos no mundo globalizado". Revista Científica Ciência em Curso (in French). 3 (2): 111–123. ISSN 2317-0077. Archived from the original on August 23, 2016. Retrieved November 21, 2021.
  9. ^ "Confira os maiores campeões estaduais do país". Brazilian Football Confederation (in Brazilian Portuguese). January 26, 2016. Archived from the original on April 10, 2016. Retrieved July 14, 2023.
  10. ^ "Nos 400 anos de Belém, um timaço só com grandes jogadores paraenses que serviram a Seleção" (in Brazilian Portuguese). January 12, 2016. Archived from the original on January 16, 2016. Retrieved July 14, 2023.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  11. ^ Superesportes; Superesportes (June 29, 2017). "Vencedor, Durval chega a taça de número 19 e põe fim ao maior jejum de toda carreira". Superesportes (in Brazilian Portuguese). Archived from the original on November 21, 2021. Retrieved November 21, 2021.
  12. ^ "Rodolfo Rodrigues – Quem são os técnicos com mais títulos estaduais no século XXI". (in Brazilian Portuguese). Archived from the original on April 16, 2022. Retrieved November 21, 2021.