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Never too late as Brazilian club crowned champions belatedly after 86 years!



Brasileiro Championship - Atletico Mineiro v Bahia - Estadio Mineirao, Belo Horizonte, Brazil - August 13, 2023 Atletico Mineiro's Hulk celebrates after Paulinho scores their first goal REUTERS/Washington Alves/File photo Acquire Licensing Rights

It took 86 years, but Atletico Mineiro have finally been crowned as Brazil’s first club champion after the country’s football confederation (CBF) officially recognised their winning of the 1937 “Tournament of Champions” as comparable to a Brazilian Serie A Championship.

Atletico can now add a third title to their history along with the 1971 and 2021 victories thanks to the decision of the body headed by Ednaldo Rodrigues to grant the club recognition of the long-standing title.

“The Tournament of Champions played in 1937 was extremely relevant at the time amid debates and divisions generated in Brazilian football due to the defence of the implementation of professionalism between clubs,” said the official CBF document signed on Friday.

The pioneering interstate tournament brought together five state champions of 1936 from different regions of Brazil and a delegation of the sports club of the navy. It was the first of national relevance to involve clubs that moved to the professional model, such as Fluminense and Atletico itself.

After claiming the “Brasileirao” in 2021, Atletico requested recognition of the title they won almost a century ago.


Club president Sergio Goelho held multiple meetings with the confederation and submitted a 60-page document with infographics, newspaper annexes and letters to demonstrate the importance of the tournament.

The long-awaited confirmation of the old title came as part of a club celebration coupled with the opening of its new home, the MRV Stadium, which was inaugurated with a 2-0 win over Santos on Sunday.




Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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