First stage: 12 teams are divided into two groups. the teams of each group play once only against the teams in the other group. the eight best teams, regardless of group, qualify to the Quarterfinals. the other four teams go to the relegation playoffs.
Relegation playoffs:The worst 4 teams of the first play in a Two-legged Knockout tie, with the loser of each being relegated to the Second level in the next year.
Final stage:The 8 best teams play in a Two-legged Knockout tie, with the winner of each one qualifying for the Semifinals, and the same process repeats in the Semifinals, and the Finals are played in the same way than the semifinals.The winners of the finals are the champions. In case that two teams end tied after a round, those with the best record qualify. The top two teams qualify for the Copa do Nordeste and the Copa do Brasil of the next year. The third-placed team has the choice of participate either in the Copa do Nordeste of the following year or in the Série D of the same year. the fourth-placed team inherits the 3rd placed teams berth in the tournament that the 3rd declined to participate.