Brazilian lawyers are considering whether to appeal against Neymar’s four-match ban that has ruled the Selecao’s captain out of the rest of the Copa America, coach Dunga said on Saturday.
The Brazilian Football Federation (CBF) reaffirmed their claims that the 23-year-old superstar, banned for head-butting a Colombian opponent, has been unfairly hunted at the tournament.
But Brazil, still recovering from its World Cup disaster last year, has been stunned by the punishment against their key player and the CBF is looking for ways to appeal.
“CBF legal experts will respond to all the action taken against Neymar,” Dunga told a press conference on the eve of Brazil’s final Group C game against Venezuela on Sunday.
CBF legal director Carlos Eugenio Lopes said: “The decision was not normal.”
“We don’t want anything in our favour, we don’t want anything against us, we just want it to be balanced. There should just be an equal judgement for everyone in the tournament,” Dunga added, acknowledging that Brazil’s latest football icon would be sorely missed.
Neymar was given a provisional one-match suspension after collecting his second yellow at the end of the 1-0 defeat by Colombia on Wednesday.
The South American confederation, Conmebol, increased the ban to four matches because of his behaviour after the red card when he argued with the referee and match officials as he left the pitch.
Group C is finely balanced with Brazil, Colombia, Peru and Venezuela all level on one win and one defeat so far.
“Neymar is a football personality and the punishment was very big. Of course we all love football and we want to see him on the pitch, not just Neymar but (Alexis) Sanchez, (Lionel) Messi, (Angel) di Maria,” Dunga said.
Brazilian officials and Neymar himself have called throughout the tournament for better protection against provocation from other teams.
“They are hunting Neymar on the pitch and they didn’t do anything against the other players,” the CBF’s legal director said after the ban was announced.
Neymar’s absence could be an opportunity for Douglas Costa to get a starting place, but many Brazilians are fearful of the consequences of losing their star player.
At the 2014 World Cup, Neymar suffered a fractured bone in his spine in a 2-1 quarter-final win against Colombia.
The challenge by Colombia’s Juan Camilo Zuniga went unpunished and, without their star man, Brazil lost 7-1 to Germany in a traumatic semi-final.
Many Brazilians agreed with the sanction however. A survey by the sports publication Lancenet showed that 67% of respondents backed the four match ban.
“Neymar is a good player, but he was irresponsible and deserved the punishment,” said former Brazilian goalkeeper and team coach Emerson Leao.
“You can argue about whether a four match suspension was very strict or not, but it was his attitude that provoked the commission’s reaction,” Emerson told the Folha de Sao Paulo daily.
“Even in Pele’s era we were dependent on a football ‘king’. This team cannot continue to depend on Neymar. I think this will be a good test for the players to prove that they are self-sufficient and that the team can be competitive even without the number 10 shirt,” Emerson added.