Brazil to appeal Neymar’s Copa America suspension, but likely will be fruitless

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Brazil manager Dunga confirmed the federation will appeal star striker Neymar’s four-game suspension for his red card as time expired on their 1-0 Copa America loss to Colombia.

Neymar’s four-game suspension was three-fold. First, he got a one-game suspension for his second yellow in two games, an automatic ban per Copa America rules. Second, he automatically received a one-game suspension for a straight red card, a generally accepted rule across most tournaments.

Finally, he received an additional two games for the nature of the incident, where he appeared to headbutt Colombia’s Jeison Murillo following the final whistle. Plus, he reportedly followed head official Enrique Osses down the tunnel and hurled verbal assaults towards him, and called him “weak” in his postmatch media obligations.

Because of this three-fold breakdown, and due to the serious nature of the allegations, it’s unlikely that CONMEBOL would reduce his suspension. If anything, they could knock down his two-match add-on suspension to one – or none if the organization proves especially spineless – but that would still leave Brazil without its star striker until at least any potential finals appearance.

Dunga said he was only looking for “what’s fair” with their appeal, and argued that because Neymar is such a visible and important player, sanctions against him are also excessive – which is essentially arguing that he should get preferential treatment for being a great player.

The original suspension surprisingly showed CONMEBOL is serious about cracking down on Neymar’s outburst and others like it; if they crumble to Brazil’s suspension, it would undo all that power.

Neymar’s absence is huge for Brazil, especially given that both Hulk and Oscar are not on the roster due to injury. Dunga could replace him with 31-year-old Santos forward Robinho, youngsters Diego Tardelli and Roberto Firmino could partner at the top (although both have been less than stellar thus far), or he could move Philippe Coutinho and Willian up from the attacking midfield into the striker’s spot.

In addition, Colombia’s Carlos Bacca was suspended two matches for his retaliation against Neymar’s actions, pushing the Brazilian after seeing his headbutt. His suspension is not eligible for an appeal.