BREAKING NEWS

Rio de Janeiro lawmaker seeks to ban VAR

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By Andrew Downie

(Reuters) – Brazilian league leaders Flamengo may be banned from using football’s Video Assistant Referee (VAR) if an angry politician’s proposals gain favour in the Rio de Janeiro city council.

Antonio de Azevedo wants to ban VAR in the state because he says it is ruining football.

“Football brings joy to people and the VAR is spoiling it for everybody,” the lawmaker, whose is better known as Zico, told Reuters.

“We know what time the game starts but we no longer know when it will end because the VAR takes up so much time. The goals go in and we have to wait before we can celebrate.”

His proposal, which must pass the committee stage before it can go to a formal vote, would ban the use of VAR in all official matches in Rio de Janeiro state, including those featuring local sides Flamengo, Botafogo, Fluminense and Vasco da Gama.

Although he takes his name, Zico, from one of Flamengo’s greatest ever players, De Azevedo is a fan of arch rivals Vasco da Gama.

He said, however, his proposal was not done with any club in mind but rather designed for all true football fans.

“When the game is over people only talk about the VAR,” he said.

He said it could take two months before his proposal is heard by lawmakers.

(Reporting by Andrew Downie; Editing by Toby Davis)

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