July 9, 2020 / 6:44 PM / a month ago

Soccer-Brazil's 2020 first division to be completed in 2021

SAO PAULO, July 9 (Reuters) - Brazil’s 2020 national football championship will begin on Aug. 9 and finish on Feb. 24 next year, the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) said on Thursday.

The first division will continue under the same format as envisaged, with 38 games on a round-robin basis, while the second tier, which features the same number of teams and games, will begin on Aug. 8 and end on Jan. 30, 2021.

“This redesign is the way we’ve hit on to complete the whole schedule and guarantee the clubs’ commitments to broadcasters, sponsors and backers,” CBF president Rogerio Caboclo said in a statement.

The new dates present a potential conflict with the traditionally important state championships, which usually begin in January and run until the end of April, with the national championship beginning immediately after.

The CBF statement did not mention of the state leagues.

New schedules for youth and women’s football will be released over the next few days.

Professional football in Brazil was suspended in mid-March, and the Rio de Janeiro state league is the only one to restart, with the first game taking place on June 18.

Brazil has suffered more COVID-19 deaths than any country in the world outside the United States, with 67,694 fatalities, according to Health Ministry statistics. (Reporting by Andrew Downie, editing by Ed Osmond)

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