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The next Brazilian league season could be thrown into disarray if a legal wrangle involving three clubs is not resolved quickly, a lawyer for the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) has warned.
Portuguesa were controversially relegated to the second division after being deducted four points for fielding a suspended player at the end of the campaign in December.
The ruling ensured that outgoing champions Fluminense were saved from the drop having filled the final relegation place prior to the ruling against Portuguesa, which was confirmed on appeal.
Fluminense's Rio neighbours Flamengo are also looking to recover four points docked for a misdemeanour similar to Portuguesa's and have likewise embarked on legal action to have the punishment overturned.
CBF lawyer Carlos Miguel Aidar warned the problem must be resolved or else next season -- which in any case will be interrupted by the World Cup in June -- may not go ahead.
"There is a risk for the championship," Aidar told Jovem Pan radio a definitive legal ruling was needed - and quickly.
"If we don't get a decision resolving the affair by February 20 we will have a serious problem on our hands.
"Either there will be no championship or else there will be one with more than 20 clubs," Aidar said.
The CBF expects to unveil the fixtures list come February 20.
The legal wrangle has seen conflicting points of view across civil and sporting jurisdictions in Rio and Sao Paulo and Flamengo have even threatened to take their case to the Lausanne-based Court of Arbitration for Sport.