April 20 – Talk about extra time! After a bitter 30-year dispute, Brazil’s Supreme Court has finally decided the winner of the 1987 league title: Sport Recife.At the time of the 1987 championship, Brazil had competing leagues and the Supreme Court has ruled that Sport Recife, and not Flamengo – who were part of a breakaway competition -be deemed the overall champions.
The Brazilian federation tried to get the two to play off for the overall title but the Rio-based Flamengo, one of the biggest clubs in the country, refused. As a result, Sport Recife took the slot in the subsequent Copa Libertadores.
A panel of five judges gave Sport, these days more used to a relegation battle, a 3-1 victory. One of the justices abstained as his son was linked to a Flamengo lawyer. But the judges were clearly unhappy that they had to rule either way. Justice Luis Roberto Barroso said: “There is no place worse than the judicial system to discuss sports.”
A Flamengo fan, he voted to split the title between the two clubs and added that “40 million fans have their hearts shattered.”
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