Whose tunnel is it anyway?

March 14, 2006

RIO DE JANEIRO, March 14 (Reuters) - Brazilian arch-rivals Atletico Mineiro and Cruzeiro have become involved in a row over who uses which tunnel in next Sunday's derby in Belo Horizonte.

Cruzeiro traditionally use the right-hand tunnel at the Mineirao stadium but Atletico say they are officially the home team this time and they want to use it.

'Atletico are the home team and Atletico demand the dressing room on the right,' said their director of football, Zizi Valadares.

But Cruzeiro spokesman Valdir Barbosa said his club traditionally use the right-hand side, which is nearer to their fans.

'It goes back 40 years. Cruzeiro are on the right and Atletico on the left,' he said. 'This piece of history is not going to be changed by some people who have been at Atletico for 40 days.'

Sunday's match is a semi-final in the Mineiro championship, one of a plethora of state competitions which kick off the Brazilian season.

The sides, who share one of the oldest rivalries in South America, will not meet in this year's Brazilian championship, where Atletico have been relegated to the second division.