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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 23 June 2018

Rodolfo Arruabarrena: Banning Caio and De Lima over video is a dangerous precedent

The Al Wasl duo had their respective two-match bans over behaviour in an online video postponed, but the punishments could still be upheld.

Fabio De Lima scored twice in Al Wasl's 2-0 win over Al Nasr after his two-match ban, along with Caio Correa's, was postponed. Chris Whiteoak / The National
Fabio De Lima scored twice in Al Wasl's 2-0 win over Al Nasr after his two-match ban, along with Caio Correa's, was postponed. Chris Whiteoak / The National

Al Wasl manager Rodolfo Arruabarrena fears a dangerous precedent will be set if Fabio De Lima and Caio Correa are punished over their behaviour in a video on social media.

The pair were initially punished in midweek with a two-game ban and a fine of Dh20,000 each by the UAE Football Association's disciplinary committee for their conduct in a video in which they, along with other Wasl players, interacted with young fans.

During the video De Lima made what was believed to be a penguin dance gesture, while Caio made a throat cutting gesture.

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The video was to preview their Arabian Gulf League game on Thursday with Al Nasr, which Wasl won 2-0, and the penguin element was believed to be an attempt to have fun at Nasr's expense.

Nasr's home stadium is next to Al Nasr Leisureland, which has a number of plastic penguins as part of a display.

The suspensions were initially due to include Thursday's game, but they were able to play, with De Lima scoring both goals, after the UAE FA postponed the punishment, with a second hearing into the matter scheduled for November 12.

Arruabarrena said he believed that if the suspensions stand then it will have consequences for his, and other, players.

“If the association decides to make something out of this it could make the future complicated for sport," the Argentine said.

"Players have to take care, but this is a private thing and if you decide to punish things done in their private life there is no life, and this is dangerous for sport.”

Asked if he still expected to lose Caio and Lima for two matches at a later date, he added: “I don’t think they can do that, it wouldn’t be justice.

“But in case that happens we have other players with different characteristics to replace them, I always say this is a group and all players have to be prepared to carry on and never give up fighting for the league.”

Cesare Prandelli, the Nasr manager, said the fact that De Lima and Caio had been allowed to play in the game had not caught them by surprise, despite it being De Lima who was the match-winner.

“The line of our club was precise and definite," the Italian said. "They were disciplined and an appeal brought them back.

"Anyway, we had prepared for the game with them playing, so we didn’t feel conditioned by this at all.”

The result maintain's Wasl's unbeaten start to the season and they are three points clear at the top, though Al Ain can draw level with them again if they win at Al Wahda on Saturday night.