When I was younger I remember watching some football matches in Brazil. Now, I don't remember if it was the Brazilian league of if it was state leagues inside Brazil. But I am almost 100% sure that they were matches of Campeonato Paulista.

At the beginning of each match they would dispute a penalty shoot-out to decide who would win an extra point in case the game was tied.

Here was the logic that was explained to me at the time:

  • In football, when a team wins it gets 3 points and the other team gets 0 points.
  • When a match is tied, each team receives 1 point.
  • So technically a match is worth 3 points for a win-lose game, but it is worth only 2 points for a tie-tie game.

To solve this "problem" (in quotation because it turns out it is not a big problem after all) the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF in Portuguese) decided to test this formula where teams would dispute shoot-outs at the start of every game to see who would win one extra point in the case of a tied match.

I would like to know which year that formula was adopted? And, if possible, why it was not implemented in the following years? Was it a FIFA recommendation to implement it in the first place? Was it ever tested somewhere else? I asked some of my friends from Brazil but they think I am dreaming...

  • I don't remember seeing that in brasil. I remember seeing that in argentina. Are you sure it was brasil?? anyway that test works for about a year and was left apart. Probably because when the game was close and tied, any team stop attacking (2-1 points was better than 3-0)
    – gbianchi
    Commented Sep 19, 2017 at 13:16
  • @gbianchi I am sure it was Brazilian football... Good point. I haven't thought about it but if you start the game by winning the shoot-outs you can choose a defensive strategy which is quite boring. Commented Sep 19, 2017 at 17:48

2 Answers 2


I finally found it! It was in Campeonato Paulista 2001 (Site in Portuguese).

There are some stuff that was a little bit blurry on my head:

  • I had the feeling that they would perform the shootout before the game. Penalty shoot-out was actually after the game, only if the game was tied which makes much more sense. Otherwise the result of the shootout would interfere on the strategy of the teams.
  • It was only 3 penalty shots for each team and then in case of a tie they would alternate penalty shoots until one team scored and the other one missed.
  • And finally if the match ended 0-0, the winner of the shootouts would receive only 1 point. My only guess is that they included this rule as an attempt to make teams move forward and try to score, to avoid having teams "sharing" points, or having agreements that would benefit both teams in the case of a tie.

Another thing that FPF tried in 2001 was to have 2 referees on the field at the same time. I actually remember that. It was pretty similar to handball. Each referee would be responsible for half the field and they had equal authority to make calls.

In this video you can see the two referees acting together.


It was in 1988 when the CBF instituted the Lei dos Pênaltis (law of penalties). Apparently it was for the Brasileirão (national championship) according to this article that cites Vitória, América, Botafogo and Fluminense, which are from different states, as teams who had to go through the penalty shootout to define the winner of the extra point.


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