Football was introduced into Brazil during the first decade of the twentieth century by Brazilian-born Brit Charles Miller and has long been recognised as part of the national identity.
Known in Brazil as O Jogo Bonito or The Beautiful Game, football is a favourite pastime for many, from kids in the streets or on the beach, to workers and executives together in gyms or parks, and of course by professionals for clubs across the land.
Football’s development as a spectator sport in Brazil was given a boost in 2008 when FIFA announced that the country would play host to the 2014 World Cup Finals. This means that the next few years will see massive injections of finance into the stadiums and the spectator oriented infrastructure nationwide and, by extension, the tourism, communications, transport and security aspects of the host cities.
The governing body of football in Brazil is the Brazilian Football Confederation (Confederação Brasileira de Futebol).
Professional football games are played in Brazil throughout the year except over the Christmas period.
The first games of the year involve the State Championships which usually kick-off in mid-January and run for about four months until mid-May.
Immediately following these, Brazil’s main Championship the Brasileirão starts, as do the second, third and fourth division championships. This mammoth competition sees the teams travelling the length and breadth of the country until mid December when it reaches its peak. Until recently, the top eight teams after they had all played each other would go head-to-head in a cup competition format involving quarter finals, semi-finals and a final played over three legs. However this has been replaced in recent years by the European model of a set number of games with the team holding the most number of points taking the title.
As in Europe, while the main championship is being played, the Brazilian Cup competition (Copa do Brasil) is also played. This starts in Mid-February and runs through until late June, following the traditional knock-out model.
Tickets for games usually only go on sale during the week before a game. They may not be purchased online or by telephone and are available either at the box office of the ground itself or from one of the clubs’ accessories stores in the city or the fan club headquarters. If the game in question is being played between local teams, the opposing team will also sell tickets from their home ground.
Prices vary depending on the match and can increase by as much as 50 percent for important games.
Inside the stadiums, a limited selection of refreshments is available including hot dogs, soft drinks, popcorn and iced lollipops. Alcohol is not available inside the stadiums.
Brazilian football grounds do not have stores selling souvenirs of shirts, mugs, posters or caps. Unofficial salespeople can be found near the stadium selling unofficial club products. Official items can only be found in sports shops or the club stores.