Campeonato Paulista

Campeonato Paulista

The Campeonato Paulista is the most prestigious football tournament within the state of São Paulo. The league has 20 clubs in its highest level of competition, which typically lasts from January to April. Rivalries amongst four of the most prestigious Brazilian teams (Corinthians, Palmeiras, Santos and São Paulo) has marked the history of the competition. The "Paulistão", as the tournament is popularly known, is also the oldest established league in Brazil. It was first held in 1902.


Campeonato Paulista is held annually by the Federação Paulista de Futebol (São Paulo State Football Federation), or FPF, amongst teams residing within the state of São Paulo. 20 clubs compete in the highest level of the championship (Série A1). In a new format for 2007, each team plays the other once in a round-robin format followed by four team playoff with home-and-away series. In addition, teams that finish the regular season in places 5 through 8 (that do not reside within the city of São Paulo or Santos FC) will compete in a playoff for the title of "Campeão do Interior" (Upstate Champion). The four lowest placed teams are relegated to the lower competition (Série A2) for the following year.

Série A2 is competed by 20 teams in 3 separate phases. In Phase One, the teams are split into 2 groups, playing each other twice in a home-and-home series. The bottom two from each group are relegated to Série A3; the top 4 advance to Phase Two. Phase two consists of the eight advancing teams organized into groups, repeating the home-and-home series within the group. The top two placed teams from each group are promoted to Série A1; each top team advances to Phase Three, a single championship game to determine the tournament winner.

Série A3 consists of 20 teams competing in a three phase format similar to Série A-2. Promotion and relegation rules are the same as in this higher level.

The Second Division (Série B) matches are held by minor teams during the Brazilian league. The number of teams involved varies greatly, with 43 participants in 2006. Top four teams are promoted to Série A3.



Charles Miller was responsible for the creation of the first São Paulo state tournament. Miller introduced the football association rules to Brazil upon his return from England, where he attended college and discovered the sport. On December 14th, 1901, the Liga Paulista de Foot-Ball (Paulista Football League), or LPF was founded, comprising of five initial teams: São Paulo Athletic Club, Internacional, Mackenzie, Germânia, and Paulistano. Between April and October of 1902, those teams competed in the first edition of the tournament, with São Paulo AC winning the title and Miller himself as the leading goalscorer. Unlike in Argentina and Uruguay, football was restricted to elitist clubs in its early days in Brazil.

Football popularity grew in following years. Paulistano, a club comprised of the children of the richest families of São Paulo, became the strongest team. However, the popularity base of the sport started to change after a brilliant exhibition tour by the Corinthians, a London amateur team, in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. They easily defeated the best Brazilian teams of the time and made a very favorable impression amongst the younger fans. Shortly thereafter, a group of workers were inspired to found the city's first popular team, Sport Club Corinthians Paulista.

Growing Pains

Growth of football popularity amongst lower classes generated a rift in the LPF. Their directors had defended that football should remain an elitist sport. This difference in opinion led to creation of another competing league, the Associação Paulista de Esportes Atléticos (Paulista Association of Athletic Sports), [APEA] , which promoted the sport among all social classes. Corinthians and Palestra Itália (a new club compound by Italian immigrants), and Paulistano helped to comprise the new league.

The LPF ceased operation in 1917. Until 1926, the APEA remained the only league in São Paulo. Stronger teams, larger crowds and players such Neco (Corinthians) and Friedenreich (Paulistano) contributed o the "footballmania" that converted football from "foreigner's fun" to Brazil's most popular sport. Debates surrouned the issue of whether football should professionalize or remain a purely amateur endeavor. Paulistano, the most trophied team at the time, refused to become professional and departed in 1925 to create the Liga de Amadores de Futebol (League of Football Amateurs) [LAF] . Competition between the two leagues fueled expansion of the teams, as clubs from upstate began to join.

By 1930, the LAF and Paulistano had folded, and a new era for São Paulo football began. Players became professionals in 1933 when Bandeirante Football League was created. Corinthians and Palestra Itália assumed their positions as the most powerful and popular teams. A new club emerges to compete for the hearts of supporters. Some dissidents from Paulistano, favourable to profissionalization, along with the directors of AA Palmeiras united to form São Paulo Futebol Clube, the third force of the city.

The Modern Era

The APEA had ceased operations in 1938, and after the several name changes, the original Bandeirante Football League officially became the Federação Paulista de Futebol (Paulista Football Federation), [FPF] on April 22nd, 1941. São Paulo signed Leonidas da Silva in the following year and won five of the next eight championships. Palestra Itália change its name to Palmeiras in 1943 due to a World War II period law that banned Axis Powers's references in sport. Football grows within the state and a second division is created in 1948, allowing upstate teams to take part in major league competition. XV de Novembro from Piracicaba was the first team promoted to the top flight.

São Paulo, Palmeiras and Corinthians dominated titles in early fifties. Santos, although having competed consistently, would need waiting few more years to gain top status. 1957 was the year when football saw the birth of its greatest player ever: Pelé. His fantastic goals lead Santos to win nine of the next twelve championships. Pelé was the league top scorer in every year between 1957 and 1965 including a record 58 goals in a single season. Santos won numerous competitions at the state, national, regional and international level. Palmeiras's "Academia" teams were the only ones able to break such dominance in the sixties.

By the early 70's, Brazil began to develop more mature national competitions which competed with the state and regional tournaments for supporter's attention. In 1977, Corinthians' were able to win a title after a 24 year drought, and the early eighties saw the battle between Corinthians (led by Sócrates) and São Paulo's (Serginho Chulapa). The "Corinthians Democracy" won in 1982 and 1983 while introducing a new philosophy in club management, where players participate in all decisions with management. São Paulo became the most successful team of the decade, winning the championship in 1980, 1981, 1985, 1987 and 1989. The last years saw the emergence of players such as Müller and Silas (known as the "Menudos do Morumbi") on that team. Internacional from Limeira accomplished a great upset in 1986 by defeating Palmeiras to win the final.

Bragantino vs. Novorizontino was the final in the 1990 championship in the Paulistão's biggest ever upset. Palmeiras' fans saw their club win the 1993, 1994 and 1996 championships with the greatest Brazilian squad of the decade. Rivaldo, Roberto Carlos, Edmundo, César Sampaio are among the members of the "Green Machine" which scored 100 goals in the 1996 tournament. Corinthians conquered the trophy five times in the 1995-2003 period, thus becoming the winningest team in first 100 years of the Campeonato Paulista, with 25 titles.

Since 2000, Campeonato Paulista has lost popularity with each year. The championship that saw the magic of true geniuses such as Friedenreich, Leonidas, Pelé, Ademir da Guia and Sócrates at its peak is now regarded as a secondary tournament. The main São Paulo state teams treat the tournament as tune-ups for the more lucrative Copa Libertadores and Brazilian National Championship. However, the Paulistão, as well as the other state tournaments in Brazil, still hold significance by providing developing talent and sustaining grass-roots soccer within the state.

2008 Série A1

"Team - Home City"

*Bragantino - Bragança Paulista
*Corinthians - São Paulo
*Grêmio Barueri - Barueri
*Guarani - Campinas
*Guaratinguetá - Guaratinguetá
*Ituano - Itu
*Juventus - São Paulo
*Marília - Marília
*Mirassol - Mirassol
*Noroeste - Bauru
*Palmeiras - São Paulo
*Paulista - Jundiaí
*Ponte Preta - Campinas
*Portuguesa - São Paulo
*Rio Claro - Rio Claro
*Rio Preto - São José do Rio Preto
*Santos - Santos
*São Caetano - São Caetano do Sul
*São Paulo - São Paulo
*Sertãozinho - Sertãozinho

Past tournaments

Winners and goalscorers

*"LPF — Liga Paulista de Foot-Ball (Paulista Football League)"
*"APEA — Associação Paulista de Esportes Atléticos (Paulista Association of Athletic Sports)"
*"LAF — Liga Amadores de Futebol (Amateur Football League)"
*"LFESP — Liga de Futebol do Estado de São Paulo (São Paulo State Football League)"
*"All editions starting in 1941 organized by the FPF — Federação Paulista de Futebol (Paulista Football Federation)"

[1] In 2002, the FPF organized the Super Championship with the top 3 teams in the 2002 Rio-São Paulo Tournament (Corinthians, São Paulo and Palmeiras) and the 2002 Paulista Champion (Ituano)

Titles by Team

*Corinthians 25 times
*Palmeiras 22 times
*São Paulo 20 times (plus 1 SuperChampionship and one as "São Paulo da Floresta")
*Santos 17 times
*Paulistano 11 times
*São Paulo Athletic Club 4 times
*AA Palmeiras 3 times
*Portuguesa 3 times
*Americano 2 times
*Germânia 2 times
*Internacional de São Paulo 2 times
*São Bento de São Paulo 2 times
*Inter de Limeira 1 time
*Bragantino 1 time
*Ituano 1 time
*São Caetano 1 time

Campeonato Paulista do Interior


The competition, held since 2007, is played in two legged semifinals and final by the four best placed countryside São Paulo state clubs that did not reach the semifinal stage of the Campeonato Paulista.

Past tournaments

Winners and goalscorers

Titles by team

* Guaratinguetá 1 time
* Grêmio Barueri 1 time

ee also

*Campeonato Paulista Série A2
*Campeonato Paulista Série A3
*Federação Paulista de Futebol

External links

* [ Home of the FPF] (in Portuguese}
* [ Gazeta Esportiva History of the Campeonato Paulista] (in Portuguese)

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