Suvarna Garge (Editor)

Campeonato Carioca

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Country  Brazil
Number of teams  16
Confederation  CBF / FERJ
Level on pyramid  1
Campeonato Carioca wwwnetflucombrwpcontentuploads201604cario

Founded  1906; 111 years ago (1906)
Relegation to  Campeonato Carioca Second Level

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The Campeonato Carioca, officially known as Campeonato Estadual do Rio de Janeiro, is the annual football championship of the state of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It was first held in 1906 and is these days organised by the Federação de Futebol do Estado do Rio de Janeiro, the state's football federation.


The first season of the Campeonato Carioca was played in 1906 making it the third oldest league in Brazil, with only the Campeonato Paulista of São Paulo and the Campeonato Baiano of Bahia predating it.

Rivalries amongst four of the most prestigious Brazilian teams (Botafogo, Flamengo, Fluminense and Vasco da Gama) have marked the history of the competition.

The oldest clubs from Rio de Janeiro (America, Botafogo, Flamengo, Fluminense, São Cristóvão, Vasco da Gama) had inspired the creation of many clubs from other states.

Fluminense is the team with the largest number of titles of the 20th century, with 28, being known as the "champion of the century". Flamengo leads the new century with 8 titles and the overall counting with 33 titles.

The early years

In the beginning of the 20th century, the number of football clubs in Rio de Janeiro and Niterói increased dramatically, clubs such as Rio Cricket and Athletic Association in Niterói, Fluminense Football Club in 1902, and Bangu Atlético Club, América Football Club, and Botafogo Football Club in 1904 being founded. Football became very popular, and a campaign was initiated to organize a football league bringing together clubs such as Rio Cricket and Athletic Association, Fluminense Football Club, Football and Athletic Club, America Football Club, Bangu Atlético Club, Sport Club Petrópolis and Payssandu Cricket Club. On June 8, 1905, the Liga Metropolitana de Football (abbreviated LMF, Metropolitan Football League in English) was founded. LMF's first president was Bangu's José Villas Boas, who was soon replaced by Francis Walter in December of the same year.

In 1906, the first Campeonato Carioca was contested by six clubs: Fluminense, Botafogo, Bangu, Football and Athletic, Payssandu and Rio Cricket. America, despite being one of the league founders, did not contest the league's first edition. Fluminense became the first Rio de Janeiro state champion.

In 1907 the championship ended with Botafogo and Fluminense sharing the first position. As there was no official tie-break criteria in the league rules, both clubs diverged about how to decide the title: Botafogo claimed an extra-match, Fluminense claimed that the league should adopt the goal-average criteria. This crisis led the league to end its activities without declaring a champion. In 1996, after 89 years of argument, both clubs were finally declared champions.

On February 29, 1908, Fluminense, Botafogo, America, Paysandu, Rio Cricket, and Riachuelo founded Liga Metropolitana de Sports Athleticos (LMSA, meaning Metropolitan Athletic Sports League, in English), which organized the Campeonato Carioca of that year. This was won by Fluminense.

AFRJ: the first split

In 1911, the first league split occurred, when Botafogo abandoned LMSA and founded Associação de Football do Rio de Janeiro (AFRJ - Rio de Janeiro Football Association in English). The league was nicknamed Liga Barbante (which means String League), because Botafogo was the only significant club contesting the competition. AFRJ was incorporated by LMSA in 1913.

LMDT: 1917-1932

In 1917, after several accusations of bribery, LMSA was replaced by Liga Metropolitana de Desportos Terrestres (Terrestrial Sports Metropolitan League, in English), usually known as LMDT. Fluminense won the competition of that year.

AMEA: the second split

On March 1, 1924, a second league split occurred, with the Associação Metropolitana de Esportes Athleticos (which means Athletic Sports Metropolitan Association, in English) being founded. AMEA, founded by the aristocratic clubs Flamengo, Fluminense, Botafogo and America imposed discriminatory rules against blacks and lower class citizens to their members. The Confederação Brasileira de Desportos (CBD - Brazilian Sports Confederation) itself stood on the racist league's side, declaring AMEA the official league of Rio de Janeiro from 1924 on, and disaffiliating LMDT. AMEA's competition was won by Fluminense, and LMDT's (The league was nicknamed Liga Barbante) (which means String League)competition was won by Vasco da Gama, the only significant club that remained on the old league. In 1925, however, AMEA abandoned its racist conditions and Vasco joined the strongest league, while LMDT remained being disputed only by minor clubs. Years later, the LMDT championship of 1924 was considered official - but not the following LMDT championships, though.

Professionalization and the union of the league

On January 23, 1933 Bangu, Fluminense, Vasco and America founded the Liga Carioca de Futebol (Carioca Football League, in English), also known as LCF, the first professional league of Rio de Janeiro. At the time, the Confederação Brasileira de Desportos did not accept professionalism, and stood on AMEA's side. For this reason, LCF was nicknamed "pirate league". On 1934 CBD finally accepted professionalism, but LCF and AMEA didn't merge for political reasons. On December 11, 1934, Botafogo, Vasco, Bangu, São Cristóvão, Andaraí, Olaria, Carioca and Madureira founded the professional Federação Metropolitana de Desportos (which means Sports Metropolitan Federation, in English), usually known as FMD, replacing AMEA as the official Rio de Janeiro league affiliated to CBD.

In 1937, the Brazilian football clubs became professional teams. On July 29, 1937, FMD and LCF merges, giving birth to the Liga de Football do Rio de Janeiro (which means Rio de Janeiro Football League), also called LFRJ. In 1941, LFRJ changed its name to Federação Metropolitana de Futebol (which means Metropolitan Football Federation), also known as FMF. To celebrate the union, a friendly match between Vasco da Gama and America was played. Because of this match, the matches played between Vasco and America are nicknamed Clássico da Paz, which means Peace Derby, in English.

Federação Carioca de Futebol (FCF)

On April 21, 1960, the Brazilian capital city became Brasília, so, Federação Metropolitana de Futebol changed its name to Federação Carioca de Futebol (Carioca Football Federation, in English), also called FCF. América won the state championship of that year.

After 1975

On March 15, 1975, Rio de Janeiro and Guanabara states merged under the name of Rio de Janeiro.

On September 29, 1978, Federação de Futebol do Estado do Rio de Janeiro (Rio de Janeiro State Football Federation, in English), also known as FERJ, was founded, after Guanabara state's FCF and Rio de Janeiro state's FFD (which means Federação Fluminense de Desportos, or Sports Football Federation, in English) fused.

In 1979, there was an extra Campeonato Carioca which also included the countryside state teams, which, until that year, contested the Campeonato Fluminense. This extra competition, known as Primeiro Campeonato Estadual de Profissionais (First Professionals State Championship, in English) was won by Flamengo, who was also the champion of the regular competition, but does not count in the overall titles.

In 1996, Taça Cidade Maravilhosa was contested only by clubs from Rio de Janeiro city. This competition was contested by eight teams (America, Bangu, Botafogo, Flamengo, Fluminense, Madureira, Olaria and Vasco da Gama), which played against each other once. Botafogo was the champion, Flamengo being the runners up. In the same year, a state championship was played, which was won by Flamengo.


The competition is usually divided in three stages: the traditional Taça Guanabara, Taça Rio and the Finals.

Taça Guanabara is the first stage of the competition, with the teams divided into two groups. The traditional "big four", namely, Botafogo, Flamengo, Fluminense and Vasco da Gama are seeded. Two of them would be in one group and the other two would be in the other group. It is possible other teams also be seeded in some ways, but the seeding criteria is not codified in the regulation and has never been publicly available. The teams then play against each team of the same group once and the top team of each group plays against the second team of the other group in the semi-finals, with the winners qualified for the final.

Taça Rio is the second stage of the competition. Teams are divided into the two same groups of Taça Guanabara, but each team plays against every team from the other group once. The top team from each group compete in the semi-finals with second team from the opposite group, and winners of the semi-finals compete for the Taça Rio.

The winners of Taça Guanabara and Taça Rio compete in the two-legged Finals of Campeonato Carioca, and the winner is crowned tournament champion. If the same team wins both the Taça Guanabara and the Taça Rio, it is automatically crowned tournament champion rendering Finals unnecessary.

Titles by club

  • Paysandu Cricket Club abandoned football activities in 1914. Nowadays it is called Paissandu Atlético Clube, and it is a social club only.
  • References

    Campeonato Carioca Wikipedia