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Brazil Serie C
Unlike in the first and second league, the Série C is not played in a Double Round Robin system, probably because many participating teams lack the financial requirements for long distances. Thus, the tournament is organized in regional groups and the table prevents teams from distant states from playing against each other in the first rounds.
By 2008, any professional team could compete, but only 64 teams participated in the tournament. The teams that had relegated from the Série B the previous year had teams that qualified for each state. The qualification rules were different, some associations used the state tournaments as qualifying tournaments, others organized exclusive qualifying tournaments for the Série C.
From 2009, the Série C has been reduced from 64 teams to 20 and the new Campeonato Brasileiro Série D is the qualification for the Brazilian league football. In the current form, the 20 teams are divided into two groups and each team plays at home and away against all opponents of their own group. The four best teams in each group qualify for a knockout round and the four semi-finalists are promoted to Campeonato Brasileiro Série B. The two lowest teams of each group descend into the Campeonato Brasileiro Série D.
In the group stage, each group was played in the first and second leg. The teams were arranged on points (3 points for a win, 1 point for a draw and 0 points for a loss). If points were tied, the following criteria would be used to determine the ranking: 1. victories; 2nd goal difference; 3. scored goals; 4. head to head (if only two teams pull together). A draw would apply the away goals rule (except when both teams share the same stadium). 5. least red cards; 6. least yellow cards; 7. Draw at the headquarters of the Brazilian Football Federation (Rules Article 15).
The four best teams of each group reached the quarterfinals of the knockout round.
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