22 December 2010 – If You Think It Was A Minor Change, You Don’t Know Brazilian Football

On 22 December 2010, the Brazilian Football Confederation shook up the Brazilian top flight by officially recognizing the winners of past tournaments as national champions.

Although Brazilian football dates back to the 1890s, a formal national league system did not exist until 1971. Prior to that, teams competed in regional and local leagues, as well as a couple of national tournaments, the Taça Brasil (not to be confused with the Copa do Brasil), played from 1959 to 1968, and the Torneio Roberto Gomes Pedrosa, also known as the Taça de Prata, played from 1967 to 1970.

In 1971, the Taça de Prata became the Campeonato Brasileiro, the current league system, of which Série A is the top flight. Initially, the CFB recognized only the Série A winners as national champions, which meant that, as of 2010, São Paulo's six league titles were the most of any team, followed by Flamengo's five (Flamengo claims a disputed sixth title from 1987, though the CFB does not recognize it).

But in 2010, a handful of clubs, including Palmeiras and Santos, petitioned the CFB to recognize the winners of the earlier competitions as national champions. Not coincidentally, the change meant that Palmeiras and Santos each had a shared-record eight combined titles, ahead of Sáo Paulo, who were still stuck at six. 

Palmeiras won the league in 2016 to extend the record to 9. 


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