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Football Manager Competitions: South America

Football Manager competitions explained.

Today we are going to have a look at the continental football competitions for the South American clubs, as we arrive on the last playable continent in Football Manager. Then we’ll finally get into the FIFA Club World Cup competition, as we gather all Champions League winners from all confederations into their ultimate challenge.

…First things first: in case you missed all the other episodes, you can find them here:

CONMEBOL: Confederación Sudamericana de Fútbol


CONMEBOL is the continental governing body of association football in South America and it is one of FIFA’s six continental confederations. The oldest continental confederation in the world (1916), its headquarters are located in Luque, Paraguay. CONMEBOL is responsible for the organization and governance of South American football’s major international tournaments. With 10 member football associations, it has the fewest members of all the confederations in FIFA.

There are two main club competitions in South America: the Copa Libertadores de América, first held in 1960 and the Copa Sudamericana launched by CONMEBOL in 2002 as an indirect successor to the Supercopa Libertadores (begun in 1988).

Copa Libertadores


The Copa Libertadores de América is one of the most prestigious tournaments in the world and the most prestigious club competition in South American football. The tournament is named in honor of the Libertadores, the main leader of the South American wars of independence.

Competition stages. In the present format, the tournament consists of six stages, with the first one taking place in early February. The six surviving teams from the preliminary round join 26 teams in the groups stage (8 groups, 4 teams each). Group winners and runners-up are then sorted separately in two tables – these will decide the draw for the Second Round, as follows: top team from the winners table plays against the bottom team from the runners-up table, and vice-versa. Teams from the winners table will also have the advantage of the home field in the 2nd leg of the Second Round. The knockout stages ends with the finals being played anywhere between June and August. The winner of the Copa Libertadores becomes eligible to play in two extra tournaments: the FIFA Club World Cup and the Recopa Sudamericana.

As of 2009, most teams qualify to the Copa Libertadores by winning half-year tournaments called the Apertura and Clausura tournaments or by finishing among the top teams in their championship. The countries that use this format are Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Paraguay and Venezuela. Peru and Ecuador have developed new formats for qualification to the Copa Libertadores involving several stages. Brazil is the only South American league to use an European league format instead of the Apertura and Clausura format. However, one berth for the Copa Libertadores can be won by winning the Copa do Brasil.

The winners of the previous season’s Copa Libertadores are also given an additional entry if they do not qualify for the tournament through their domestic performance; however, if the title holder qualify for the tournament through their domestic performance, an additional entry would be granted to the next eligible team, “replacing” the title holder.

Copa Sudamericana


Organized by the CONMEBOL since 2002, Copa Sudamericana is the second most prestigious club competition in South American football. Since its introduction, the competition has been a pure elimination tournament with the number of rounds and teams varying from year to year. The winner of the Copa Sudamericana becomes eligible to play in the Recopa Sudamericana and they gain an additional entry onto the next edition of the competition.

Prize Money. The amounts are quite decent compared to other continental tournaments, well – except the UEFA prize money – so if you manage a good run in these competitions, your club fortunes will definitely improve. Since Copa Libertadores is the equivalent of the UEFA Champions League, the amounts are obvious higher than the ones from Copa Sudamericana:


It is worth knowing that the Copa Sudamericana winners also contest the Suruga Bank Championship, but as far as I noticed this tournament doesn’t seem to be present in Football Manager. I’ll add a few words about it anyway…

Suruga Bank Championship

suruga bank championship

The J.League Cup / Copa Sudamericana Championship Final, officially called the Suruga Bank Championship, is an annual intercontinental football match contested by the reigning champions of the J. League Cup and the Copa Sudamericana. The intercontinental championship was founded in early 2008 by the Japan Football Association, CONMEBOL and J. League, and sponsored by Suruga Bank in Japan. The championship is hosted annually in the Japanese champion’s home stadium.

Recopa Sudamericana


Recopa Sudamericana is an annual football competition organized by CONMEBOL since 1988. It is a match-up between the champions of the previous year’s Copa Libertadores and Copa Sudamericana, South America’s premier club competitions. The name comes from their main, single sponsor which is Banco Santander, one of the largest banks in the world.

The cup has been won by 14 different clubs and won consecutively by three clubs: São Paulo, Boca Juniors and LDU Quito. Brazilian clubs have accumulated the most victories with eight wins while Brazil also has the most different winning teams, with six clubs having won the Recopa title.

Unlike most other competitions around the world, the Recopa Sudamericana is played in a double tie system, with extra time and penalties if scores are level after 90 minutes. As for the prize money, losers receive 151.000€ while the winners have 227.000€ added to their fortunes.

And now let’s see the club seedings for the two main competitions in South America, as they stand at the start of the game in June 2014 (the starting date for Argentina). If you plan to start in another national league, here are the associated starting dates for each of the playable nations: December 2013/2014 for Brazil, May 2014 for Chile, December 2013/2014 for Columbia, January 2014/2015 for Peru and July 2014 for Uruguay. Please note that Mexico is not part of CONMEBOL therefore you must select Mexico from North America in order to play with a Mexican club in Copa Libertadores!

SA_club seedings

We all know football is an amazing blast in Europe but in South America, football is nearly considered religion. The continent has given birth to some of the best football players in the world, it has given birth to Pele and Maradona who are the two joint winners of the World Player of the Century award, both regarded as the greatest football players of all time. From Di Stefano, Garrincha, Zico, Romario, Ronaldo or Rivaldo to nowadays names like Messi, James Rodriguez, Di Maria or Neymar – South America is simply a golden mine for future legends, it is a great place to manage and quite competitive with lots of rivalries so you should definitely try this in Football Manager.

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