Relegated team Vasco da Gama wants to annul match marked by fan violence in Brazil

The Brazilian team relegated in the match stopped by fan violence will ask the country's sports tribunal to annul the result.

Vasco da Gama said Tuesday it deserves the three points for the match because it wasn't safe to keep playing after the brawl in the stands last weekend. If Vasco is awarded the points, it would be enough to avoid its second relegation in five years.

Vasco, a four-time Brazilian champion, needed a victory in the final-round match but lost 5-1.

Club officials said the referee did not follow regulations when he waited 73 minutes to restart the game. Rules say that the maximum time is 60 minutes.

"The referee made a mistake. We are allowed to go after our rights," Vasco da Gama director Ercolino de Luca said. "There were no conditions to continue the match."

The referee interrupted the game in the southern city of Joinville in the 17th minute when hundreds of fans from Vasco and Atletico Paranaense charged each other in the stands. Private security guards were separating the fans, and it took awhile until police arrived to take control.

A police helicopter landed on the field to airlift one of the four men injured in the fighting — the latest case of fan violence in the country hosting next year's World Cup.

Vasco da Gama officials tried to keep the match from continuing but the referee deemed there was enough security to restart.

Flavio Zveiter, president of the sports tribunal, said it isn't likely the result of the match will be changed.

"It's too early to know because we still haven't received the complaint," he told the UOL Web portal and other local media. "But the general rule is that what happened on the field must be confirmed."

Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari condemned the violence.

"We can't call them fans, they are anti-fans," Scolari told Brazilian media Tuesday at an event in the northeastern city of Fortaleza. "It was a tragedy that cannot be repeated. We need these vandals to be punished to the full extent of the law."

The violence happened in a stadium which was in the list of possible training centers for next year's World Cup. Public prosecutors want the venue closed in 2014.

"It was an isolated case," Scolari said. "It won't interfere with the World Cup."

One Vasco da Gama's fan group released a statement denying any wrongdoing and said they acted in self-defense, a similar claim made by Atletico Paranaense supporters.

Fan groups are at the root of stadium violence in Brazil, with many fights pre-arranged on the Internet. After the images of Sunday's fight made their way across the world, the Brazilian government said it was pushing for changes that would allow for stricter punishment to fans involved in violence. Only three of the hundreds of fans fighting on Sunday were detained.


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