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Running a lax ship
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RIO DE JANEIRO, July 13 (Reuters)(DS) - Brazilian domestic
soccer could be wiped out for the rest of the year because of a complex legal battle involving Brasilia club Gama.
The second half of the season is traditionally devoted to
the Brazilian championship, but the country's soccer
confederation (CBF) has already declined to organise it.
The country's 20 biggest clubs, who form a group confusingly
called the "Club of 13", offered to step in with their own
tournament but now admit this is also threatened.
If their proposed competition -- a monster 108-club
championship called the "Joao Havelange Cup" -- fails, the clubs will be left without any games.
The CBF said earlier this month that it had been left in an
impossible position after receiving contradictory rulings
concerning Gama, relegated from the Brazilian first division last year and fighting for reinstatement since.
The CBF said FIFA had ordered Gama's exclusion from all
competitions. But at the same time, a Brasilia court ruled that the club should be included in the Brazilian championship.
The "Club of 13" also omitted Gama from their competition,
but on Tuesday the outcast club won another court injunction ordering its inclusion. Directors left a "Club of 13" meeting on Wednesday admitting this could be the death knell for their cup.
"They way things are, I don't think there will be a
championship," said Sao Paulo president Paulo Amaral.

~We are looking for a solution to avoid a serious crisis in
Brazilian football," added Fabio Koff, president of the Club of 13.
Brazilian media and public are almost unanimous in their
support for Gama, who are seen as victims of a plot to protect the status quo.
Gama claimed they should not have gone down last year. They
say they would have finished outside the relegation zone had two of their rivals not been awarded points off the field.
Botafogo and Internacional, two traditional powers in
Brazilian football, were awarded victories from their matches against Sao Paulo after the latter had been judged to have fielded an ineligible player.
Gama, whose supporters took the case to court on their
behalf, claimed the points should have been deducted from Sao Paulo but not given to Botafogo and Internacional.
They also said that the same player took part in more than
12 games but that none of the other teams to face Sao Paulo were given points.
Gama said they were further penalised by the fact that
relegation was decided by taking the average points per game from the 1998 and 1999 championships, adding the two numbers together and dividing by two. The fact that Gama had been newly promoted meant that their 1998 figure was nought, putting them at a huge disadvantage.
The club finished 15th out of 22 in the conventional
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