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Last Thursday, the Estádio Anacleto Campanella in São Caetano formed the backdrop to a very special match for the Copa Inovação (the Innovation Cup). The players’ associations of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo played one another in a match intended to test various technological innovations.

 

It was not just any old friendly match. Appearing in the blue of the team from Rio de Janeiro (Sindicato de Atletas do Rio de Janeiro) were, amongst others, Carlos Alberto, Léo Moura and Somália led by coach Zico. Taking the field in the red and black of São Paulo (Sindicato de Atletas Profissionais do Estado de São Paulo, SAPESP) were Elano, Neymar and Dentinho with coach Vágner Mancini in charge on the bench.

 

The match, which was played in front of five thousand spectators, saw São Paulo win 3-1 thanks to goals from Elano, Baiano and Neymar (Dedé scored for Rio).

 

The referees made use of video technology in order to make decisions on debatable incidents. Each coach was given the opportunity to call for the use of video images once in each half. The fourth official was also allowed to let the referee review a situation via images once in each half.

 

Referee Sálvio Spinola shows his new equipment

 

Other innovations included unlimited substitutions: not only were more than three players allowed to be replaced, the substituted players were also allowed return to the field of play. The referee had a third card at his disposal: the blue card, for which players are sent to a sin-bin for a period of ten minutes.

 

Both Brazilian players’ associations are intending to make the Copa Inovação an annual event. ‘It begins in December 2010 and ends in May 2014’, explains SAPESP president (and FIFPro board member) Rinaldo Martorelli. ‘We will test proposals for new playing rules. Following each tournament, we will send an analytical report to FIFA and the Brazilian football federation CBF.’

 

Click here for a video report

 

Goal or no goal: Carlos Alberto and Elano look at the television screen