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Fluminense spared relegation

Rio de Janeiro, Dec 17 (IANS) Brazil's struggling soccer giants Fluminense have been spared relegation to second division Serie B after rivals Portuguesa were docked four points for fielding an ineligible player.

Monday's decision by Brazil's superior sports tribunal (STJD) left Portuguesa 17th in the league standings with 44 points, two fewer than Fluminense, reports Xinhua.

Under Campeonato Brasileiro rules, the bottom four sides in the 20-team Serie A are demoted to the second division.

In a unanimous verdict, an STJD disciplinary committee found Portuguesa guilty of breaching article 214 of Brazil's sport's justice code.

The decision related to the introduction of suspended midfielder Heverton during the second half of Portuguesa's 0-0 draw with Gremio, Dec 8.

Officials from the Sao Paulo-based club said they had been unaware of Heverton's ineligibility and vowed to appeal the decision.

"We are going to do all that we can. We are going to fight this," Portuguesa president Manuel da Lupa said.

Fluminense, winners of Brazil's top flight in 2010 and 2012, have been relegated only once to the country's second tier.

Update: 16-December-2013