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Running a lax ship
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Because of the tremendous size of the country, each of the 26 States run their own championships. The principal states in the soccer scene are São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Minas Gerais, Rio Grande do Sul, Pernambuco and Bahia. There are also several other competitions, such as the "Copa Brasil" and the "Campeonato Brasileiro" - which is in fact the National Championship. This competition has, over the years, steadily grown and in 1985 there were 44 clubs participating including those from the States of Amazonas and Rio Grande do Sul. The competition involves the clubs in a tremendous amount of travelling: for example from Rio de Janeiro to Manaus (Amazonas) takes 3.5 hours; Porto Alegre to Manaus takes 7.15 hours - both by jet aircraft. Another factor is that the whole event must be completed in a maximum of four months, consequently some 200 games have to be competed in that short period.

No other country faces similar travel problems, and this makes it one of the toughest league competitions in the world. In the State of São Paulo, there are 20 clubs in the 1st division, 56 clubs in the 2nd division and 40 clubs in the 3rd division. In Rio de Janeiro, the 1st division has 12 clubs, the 2nd has 8 clubs and the 3rd division, 12 clubs.

Usually soccer coaching in Brazil begins at very early age, and great care is taken while correcting the faults of the young player, so as not to destroy any natural potential. Individualism is encouraged, because it takes a flash of individual play to overcome the modern defensive system in soccer. The young player will naturally follow professional soccer and will soon begin to play himself. He can then join one of the professional clubs, most of which are run on the lines of social club. There is a club house, swimming pools (usually 3 or 4) plus all other conceivable sports facilities. There are also enclosed playgrounds for young children with staff to look after them, so that the parents can safely leave them and follow their own pastimes. These clubs organise many teams, from the age of 5 upwards. They run their own internal championship for various teams of different age groups. There is also a city championship where clubs can enter up to 10 teams in the various age groups. Each age group is looked after by a professional player, usually one who has already retired, and it is his job to instruct and develop these young players. The club provides all equipment except boots.

To illustrate the value of the policy of developing junior soccer, the Brazilian "under nineteen" team won the "Cannes International Junior Soccer" tournament five successive times and the Toulon "Under 21" tournament in 1981 (at their first attempt), 1982 and 1983. Both competitions included strong opposition such as the national teams of Holland, Italy, Argentina and U.S.S.R. amongst others. The under 19's team also won the Junior World Cup held in Mexico in 1982, and 1985 when it was held in U.S.S.R and 1992 in Australia. The under 16's obtained an honourable third place in the first World Cup competition in China in 1985. In recent years the C.B.F. has paid all expenses for the "under sixteen" and "under fourteen" club sides to take part in European Tournaments, where they have had considerable success.
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