Brazilian football team Sport Recife celebrate winning the league title ... 30 years after finishing top of the table

Brazil's Supreme Court has decided that northeastern club Sport were the rightful winners of the 1987 Brazilian league instead of Rio giants Flamengo

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The Independent Football

Brazil's Supreme Court has decided that northeastern club Sport were the rightful winners of the 1987 Brazilian league on Tuesday, bringing an end to a 30-year battle with rivals Flamengo.

A financial dispute at the time led to two leagues running concurrently, with Recife side Sport winning one and Rio giants Flamengo winning the other.

Although the Brazilian football federation sanctioned the breakaway league they decided it should run alongside the original Campeonato Brasileiro, even though the original league began to be seen as a lesser equivalent.

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Sport Recife playing in the 2017 Copa Sudamericana against Uruguay's Danubio (AFP/Getty)

Flamengo won the breakaway league while Sport won the original competition, leaving Brazilian club football with two sides both claiming to be the champions of the country.

Flamengo rejected the chance to play off for the title and so Sport qualified for the Copa Libertadores – South America’s version of the Champions League – as well as claiming the Brazilian league title.

However, while the Brazilian football federation awarded the title to Sport, the National Sports Council ruled in Flamengo’s favour, with the two clubs have been arguing over who are the rightful champions since.

Tuesday's ruling is the final say in the matter.

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Flamengo also lay claim to the title (AFP/Getty)

“Justice has decided once again that 1987 belongs only to the Leao,” Sport said on their website, referring to the team's nickname.

“Sport are still the 1987 Brazilian champions, just as they were 30 years ago.”

Flamengo are however likely to continue protesting the decision of the courts and still list the 1987 championship on the ‘Titles’ section of their website. 

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