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By football, we mean that sport which is practiced with a ball and feet; Americans call it soccer.

Football is the sport which inspires most passion among Brazilians. The country stops working during the World Cups.
In the domestic level, Brazilian football is regulated by Confederacao Brasileira de Futebol (CBF). CBF is not an official agency; it's a private entity in which all Brazilian professional teams have participation and voice to define the rules of Brazilian football. To see more about CBF, check out these sites: Brasil Futebol (CBF's institutional site) and CBF News (updated news about Brazilian football).
Brazilian teams may play at several championships simultaneously. The National championship is divided in three series (series A, B and C); the best 24 teams go into series A; every year, two teams move down and two move up. Most teams in series A are from the southern states; in 2003, the northeast had only three teams in serie A (Fortaleza, from Ceara, Bahia and Vitoria, from Bahia) and the north had only one (Paysandu, from Belem).
The serie B is disputed by 23 mid-sized teams, most of which already participated in serie A. Though of less prestige, the serie B still draws some atention from media and public (some matches are broadcasted live in TV); most teams in serie B are important players in their states. America, from Natal, participated in 2003 and will again be in 2004 participating in serie B.
The serie C is disputed by over a hundred clubs; the tournament is regionalized. In 2003 and 2004, ABC, another popular team from Natal, will be present in serie C.

Brazilian teams also participate in several South American tournaments, the most important being the Libertadores de America, which puts together all the national champions.

See also: Football in Natal

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