Sunday, 10 January 2010

State Championships Ready To Roll

Here at CONMEBalls to kick start our coverage of the 2010 scene in Brazil which includes full coverage of Série A from May, Copa Libertadores, Recopa Sudamericana and Copa Sudamericana we will be bringing action from the State Championships in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. We will also be bringing the action from Argentina and keeping a close look at the South American sides at the FIFA World Cup in South Africa. Meanwhile ahead of the State Championships, here is a brief guide to the two competitions we will be covering.

The Campeonato Carioca is a 16 team competition which decides the Rio de Janeiro state championship. Flamengo have been victorious for the last three years. There are two separate competitions the Taça Guanabara and the Taça Rio. The Taça Guanabara comes first and starts next Saturday when Botafogo will be looking to defend their crown. The teams are split into two groups of 8 with the big 4 in Rio, Flamengo, Fluminense, Botafogo and Vasco da Gama being seeded and split between the two groups. The teams the play a single round robin against the other teams in their groups before the top two in each group qualify for a single game semi final before the final. The winner of this competition then qualifies for the state final which takes place in late April.

The Taça Rio format slightly differs from that of the Taça Guanabara. The teams remain in the same groups but play a single round robin against the teams in the other group. Giving eight fixtures instead of seven. Again after the league phase is completed there are single game semi finals and final where Flamengo will be looking to defend their title. Again the winner of this competition will then take their place in the two legged State championship final at the end of April. Both games are normally held at the Maracanã but if a team wins both Taça Guanabara and Taça Rio then this game is not held. This has happened twice before, in 1996 when Flamengo won both tournaments and it was repeated in 1998 by Vasco da Gama.

The opening games in the Guanbara are as follows

Bangu v Boavista
Olaria v Volta Redonda
Madureira v América RJ
Vasco da Gama v Tigres do Brasil
Macaé v Botafogo
Flamengo v Duque de Caxias
Friburguense v Resende
Americano v Fluminense

Meanwhile down in São Paulo the Campeonato Paulista is the old recognised competition in Brazil after being founded in 1902. The format though, is slightly different to the Carioca. Corinthians are the current holders of the title. There are 20 teams in the top division (of three) and they play a single round robin format to give 19 games. The top four teams then qualify for the semi finals which are played over two legs on a home and away basis and then the final is also played on a two legged basis. Also the 4 highest ranked teams that do not reside within the city of São Paulo compete for the Campeão do Interior or Upstate Champion on the same basis. Santos, despite not being with the city of São Paulo is ineligible for the Campeão do Interior. The bottom four teams after the regular weekly rounds are relegated to Série A2.

The opening round of the Paulista A1 lines up like this

Rio Claro v Botafogo SP
Palmeiras v Mogi Mirim
Ituano v Mirassol
Ponte Preta v Santo André
Bragantino v Oeste
Sertãozinho v Grêmio Barueri
Monte Azul v Corinthians
São Paulo v Portuguesa
Rio Branco SP v Santos
São Caetano v Paulista

A round of the weekend events will appear here from Monday.

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