Tribunal ruling saves Fluminense from relegation

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 16, 2013 at 5:39 pm •  Published: December 16, 2013
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Portuguesa lawyer Joao Zanforlim said "we need to respect what happened on the field."

But even the club admitted to a mistake when it used reserve midfielder Heverton in the final round after he had been suspended for two matches for a red card in a previous round. Portuguesa said it was mistakenly advised by one of its lawyers that it was a one-game suspension, so it thought the player was allowed to play.

The club claimed that Heverton's two-game suspension couldn't have taken effect in the final round because the document announcing the punishment was only officially published on Monday, a day after the match. The tribunal said Portuguesa knew of the punishment right away because it was represented at that hearing.

"It's clear that Portuguesa made a mistake," said Paulo Valed Perry, one of the sports tribunal's members.

Portuguesa has fired the lawyer that represented the club at Heverton's hearing.

Heverton received a two-match suspension for cursing at the referee after the final whistle in a Nov. 24 match against Bahia. He entered the team's final match in the 78th minute.

Fluminense won its match in the final round on Dec. 8 but at the time that was not enough to avoid becoming the first defending Brazilian champion to be relegated.

"The rules have to be followed, it's simple," Fluminense lawyer Mario Bittencourt said. "The decision can't be made with emotion, only with reason."

Flamengo also lost four points because of an alleged irregular use of left back Andre Santos in the last round, dropping the popular club from 11th place to 16th place, just outside relegation zone with 45 points.

Four-time Brazilian champion Vasco da Gama was also relegated to the second division, but it will not benefit from Portuguesa's punishment because it still remains behind the Sao Paulo club.

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