Five reasons to hate the Copa do Brasil

February 11, 2008 at 21:13 4 comments

flu2.jpgDon’t expect to find many level playing fields in the Copa do Brasil. The competition, that gets underway on Wednesday, is riddled with shameful rules all designed to help the more established clubs make it through the early rounds.


When it started in 1989, the Copa do Brasil was billed as an alternative to the Campeonato Brasileiro, and also as a chance for some of the smaller clubs to take on the big boys. In reality, it is a backdoor into the Libertadores for the incompetent sides who can’t manage a top four finish in the league. So, why hate it? It’s incredibly unfair: In the first two rounds of the competition, the bigger clubs always play the first leg away from home. If they win by two clear goals, they go through without the need for the return game. However, if the home side wins, the second leg is still played, giving the big club a second chance to avoid embarrassment. 

Giant killing is designed to be difficult: As I said above, the competition is played on a home and away basis. A one-off game would be more exciting, fairer, and probably produce more scalps. 

It’s unrepresentative: Only sixty-four teams take part. Some estimates put the number of recognised clubs in Brazil at around the five-thousand mark. Obviously, they all can’t compete but there should be room for expansion. As a comparison, the English Football Association Cup (FA CUP) had more than 700 participants this year.

Ten of the sixty-four places are decided by Brazil’s ranking system: The Copa do Brazil is full of backdoors and here’s another. Ten clubs can ‘qualify’ through the anachronistic national club ranking (Ranking Nacional de Clubes or RNC) classification. That just about guarantees an established club a place when they fail to qualify by finishing high enough in their league. Even recently relegated Corinthians are in this year. The RNC awards points to teams based on their league position and title successes. In December 2007, Grêmio were ranked first even though their last national title was the Copa do Brasil in 2001. Vasco were third (Copa João Havelange 2000). And somehow, Atlético Mineiro were sixth, despite not winning a major trophy since winning the Campeonato Brasileiro in 1971. 

The winner gets a place in the Libertadores: This is cannot be justified. The competition has only six rounds, which means a maximum of twelve games or a minimum of nine. To win the Campeonato Paulista, a team has to play twenty-three matches. The Campeonato Brasileiro is played over 38 games and the top four qualify for the Libertadores. By rights, an extra place should go to the team that finishes fifth in the Brasileiro. At best, the Copa do Brazil is worth a slot in the Copa Sul Americana, which is probably about the right level.


Entry filed under: Championship guides, Copa do Brasil 2008. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

Brasileiro in Britain? Good hair day for Romário

4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. sidjames  |  June 12, 2008 at 14:26

    Have to agree with most of your criticisms but at least the Libertadores place gives the tournament staus and rather than in England where the big teams treat the FA Cup with contempt, you get teams sacrificing league points for the chance of cup success.

    And don’t forget that this year’s Copa Libertadores finalists and hopefully winners, Fluminense, qualified courtesy of the Copa Brasil.

  • 2. pitacodogringo  |  June 12, 2008 at 17:49

    nice to see a comment from you!
    i hadn’t forgotten that Flu got into the Libertadores through the Copa do Brasil. after all, the competition is designed for the ‘big’ teams that can’t cut it in the league! haha (though Renato Gaúcho should change that). if corinthians had won yesterday, they would have been in the Libertadores after beating just Goias and Botafogo from Série A. The winner of this competition really deserves a place in the Sul-Americana (a sort of South American UEFA cup) and i’d rather see a team that finishes in 5th in the league get the place.

  • 3. Henrique Blanck  |  April 15, 2012 at 21:50

    Muito bom o artigo! Recomendo tamb�m o blog l� eles unem todas as noticias sobre a copa em um s� lugar.

  • […] Carlos Alberto ergue a taça de campeão da Copa do Brasil para o Fluminense; Crédito: […]


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Jon Cotterill. Commentator/expert/eyes on South American football. São Paulo/Buenos Aires. Trying to shout more.

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