Carolina Portaluppi has almost 500,000 followers on Instagram and is the daughter of Gremio coach Renato Gaucho. For these reasons, cameras were unfairly turned on her during the final stages of Gremio’s 2-0 aggregate victory over Cruzeiro in the Brazilian Cup semifinals.
Portaluppi, 22, was watching the match from the tunnel as a lifelong Gremio supporter. With the clock winding down and Gremio assured of a place in the final, Gaucho invited his daughter to sit with him on the bench for the match’s final moments.
At the final whistle, Gaucho, who played with the club as a player and has managed them on three separate occasions now, celebrated with the players and his daughter. It was a magical moment for the family and the club, who haven’t reached the final of the Brazilian Cup since 2001.
Gremio are now slated to face Atletico Mineiro in the final, a two-legged contest that will occur later this month. The second leg was due to be played at Gremio’s Arena do Gremio, a fantastically modern South American stadium that holds over 55,000 supporters.
But Brazil’s Superior Court of Sporting Justice has now informed the club that they’ve been banned from playing the second leg at home due to Portaluppi’s “pitch invasion”. Yes, they're defining Portaluppi's actions as a "pitch invasion".
“Gremio were punished this afternoon, Nov 16, for Carol Portaluppi’s pitch invasion after the Brazilian Cup semi-final match between Gremio and Cruzeiro,” the court said in a statement. “The tribunal is not judging a father’s love for his daughter but for an act that is not permitted.”
The club were also fined nearly $10,000. Gremio have vowed to appeal the decision, and, frankly, if they’re not successful, this is one of the most preposterously harsh punishments ever.
While crowd disturbances inside and outside of stadiums are rarely met with punishment of any degree in Brazil, the bureaucrats have gone to extraordinary lengths to punish Portaluppi.
This wasn’t a “pitch invasion”, an actual pitch invasion by an overexcited supporter wouldn't have registered with anyone. This has a lot more to do with the individuals involved, no matter what the court says.
(H/T: World Soccer)