May 14, 2008

Brazil: 2008 Campeonato Serie A- Zoom Map.

Filed under: Brazil,Zoom Maps — admin @ 4:54 pm


Note: to see my most recent map-and-post of Brazilian 1st division football, click on the following, category: Brazil.

The Campeonato Brasileiro Serie A was formed in 1971.  Before then, the state championships held primacy (and are still important, as most clubs still play in their state leagues, from January to April).  The vast size of Brazil had made a national league, prior to the 1970s, an impossibility.  But improvements in transportation and infrastructure made it possible.

Since 2003, the league has maintained a strict, European-style system of relegation and promotion, as well as the standard home-and-away schedule.  But the biggest problem facing the game in Brazil is the disruptive wholesale player and management shifts that occur each season.  Brazillian clubs are constantly selling off their promising players to European clubs.  And with the Campeonato season stretching from May to December,  just as the season starts taking shape, the August transfer window for European football begins.  And once clubs sell off their best players, the inevitable dip in form usually necessitates a managerial change.  Last season, only 4 clubs (Gremio, Palmeiras, Santos, and the champions Sao Paulo) kept their manager the whole season.  All this must be bewildering for the fans.

Here is a list of Brazillian football clubs’ fan bases, from a 2004 poll. brazil_club-fan-bases.gif

The biggest club is Rio de Janiero’s Flamengo.  They claim 18% of all Brazillian football supporters, with 33 million fans.  Flamengo have won 5 Campeonato titles (but none since 1992).  The crowds that attend Flamengo matches are traditionally from the working class. 

The second biggest club, Corinthians, of Sao Paulo, were relegated last season.  This followed a big spending spree which culminated in the club winning the title in 2005.  But when their business-partner/investors (London-based) Media Sports Investments were investigated by Brazilian authorities, it all unraveled, and Corinthians found themselves relegated just 2 years after winning the title. {see this entry, on Sport Club Corinthians Paulista, from Wikipedia}.

The third biggest club in the poll is Sao Paulo.  The club has won the last 2 championships (5 Campeonato titles overall, tied for the most with Flamengo), as well as the Copa Libertadores in 2005.  The club prides themselves on their organization and infrastructure.

#4 is Palmeiras, also from Sao Paulo.  Founded by Italian immigrants, as SS Palestra Italia.  They changed their name during WW II.  Palmeiras have won 4 Campeonato titles (the last in 1994, though).

#5 is Vasco da Gama, from Rio de Janeiro.  This club was the first to open up the sport in Brazil to the poor, and, especially, to black players.  Vasco have 4 Campeonato tiles, the last in 2000. 

#6 is Cruzeiro, from Belo Horizonte (the third biggest city in Brazil).  They also changed their name, of Palestra Italia, during WW II.

#7 is Gremio, from the southern city of Porto Allegre.  They were finalists in last year’s Copa Libertadores, which they lost to Argentina’s Boca Juniors.  Gremio was founded by German immigrants; the club’s fan base is skewed to the middle and upper class.  Their in-city rivals Internacional, #9 in the poll,  have historically had a fan base centered among the working class of the city.  Like Vasco da Gama in Rio,  Internacional were the first club in Porto Allegre to use black and mixed-race players (the club was founded by Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish immigrants, who were not allowed to join Gremio).  Internacional won the Copa Libertadores in 2006.

#8 is Santos, from the city of the same name, which functions as Sao Paulo’s port.  This was the club Pele played for.

#10 is Atletico Mineiro, from Belo Horizonte.

#11, Botofogo, and #12, Fluminense,  are both clubs from Rio de Janeiro, and both have traditional fan bases concentrated among the middle class and upper class (especially in Fluminense’s case).

Thanks to ( for the Kits.  Thanks to Big Soccer for the poll.  Thanks to Tim Vickery, for his article on the Brazil 2008 season, in the most recent issue (May 2008) of World Soccer.  Thanks to FourFourTwo magazine.

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