• Sunday, Dec 05, 2021
  • Last Update : 08:24 pm

New doubts cloud Copa America in Brazil

  • Published at 07:57 pm June 9th, 2021
brazil
Brazil national football team squad for Copa America Photo; Courtesy

Organizers are battling the odds to pull off the South American football championships this year despite the coronavirus pandemic

New doubts gathered Tuesday over the Copa America five days from kickoff, as Brazil's Supreme Court agreed to consider blocking the troubled tournament and the Brazilian national team's players said they were against holding it.

Organizers are battling the odds to pull off the South American football championships this year despite the coronavirus pandemic.

It has forced them into a last-minute search for an emergency host country that ended with the controversial choice of Brazil last week.

Brazil's Supreme Court said it would rule Thursday on two requests to block the 10-nation tournament, which is scheduled to open Sunday and run through July 10.

Chief Justice Luiz Fux said given the "exceptional nature of the case," he had decided to have the full 11-member court take up the matter in an extraordinary virtual session.

Hours later, the Brazilian national team's players said they were against holding the tournament, but put to rest rumors that they were planning a boycott.

"We are against organizing the Copa America, but we will never say no to the Brazilian national team," the players said in a joint statement on social media.

Neymar and team -- as well as Brazil's coach, Tite -- were reportedly caught off guard by news the tournament would be held in Brazil.

The players were blunt in their criticism of South American football confederation CONMEBOL.

"We are dissatisfied with CONMEBOL's handling of the Copa America," they said.

"Recent events lead us to believe the process of organizing the tournament will be inadequate."

- Political football -

Already delayed by 12 months because of the pandemic, the Copa America -- the world's oldest running international football tournament -- was originally due to be hosted by Colombia and Argentina.

However, the former fell through because of violent anti-government protests, and the latter because of a surge of Covid-19.

With the clock ticking down to the opening match, Brazil stepped in last week as replacement hosts.

But the 2014 World Cup host country has also been battered by Covid-19. And experts warn it is facing a new surge that a major international sports tournament could exacerbate.

The pandemic has claimed more than 475,000 lives in Brazil, second only to the United States.

The tournament has become a divisive, politically loaded matter in the country.


Also Read: Brazil's players say 'against Copa America' but won't boycott


Far-right President Jair Bolsonaro, who has regularly defied expert advice on containing the pandemic, gave his blessing to host it.

But epidemiologists have voiced alarm, as have Bolsonaro critics and some coaches and players from participating countries.

- 'Right to live' -

The cases the Supreme Court agreed to hear were brought by national metalworkers' union CNTM and by opposition Congressman Julio Delgado and his Brazilian Socialist Party (PSB).

The union argues that hosting the tournament "risks causing an increase in Covid-19 infections and deaths," the court said in a statement announcing it had agreed to hear the cases.

Delgado and the PSB argue that hosting "violates the fundamental rights to life and health," it said.

Several other requests to block the tournament were also filed in various courts, including another to the Supreme Court by the left-wing Workers' Party (PT) of former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who is shaping up as Bolsonaro's likely opponent in presidential elections next year.

Brazilian officials have said matches will be held without fans, with mandatory Covid-19 testing for teams every 48 hours, restrictions on their movement and chartered flights to carry them to matches in the four host cities.

However, the health ministry backed down Monday from plans to require all players, coaches and staff to be vaccinated.

Health Minister Marcelo Queiroga said it was too late to ensure immunity and that post-vaccine side effects "could compromise players' performance."


53
Facebook 51
blogger sharing button blogger
buffer sharing button buffer
diaspora sharing button diaspora
digg sharing button digg
douban sharing button douban
email sharing button email
evernote sharing button evernote
flipboard sharing button flipboard
pocket sharing button getpocket
github sharing button github
gmail sharing button gmail
googlebookmarks sharing button googlebookmarks
hackernews sharing button hackernews
instapaper sharing button instapaper
line sharing button line
linkedin sharing button linkedin
livejournal sharing button livejournal
mailru sharing button mailru
medium sharing button medium
meneame sharing button meneame
messenger sharing button messenger
odnoklassniki sharing button odnoklassniki
pinterest sharing button pinterest
print sharing button print
qzone sharing button qzone
reddit sharing button reddit
refind sharing button refind
renren sharing button renren
skype sharing button skype
snapchat sharing button snapchat
surfingbird sharing button surfingbird
telegram sharing button telegram
tumblr sharing button tumblr
twitter sharing button twitter
vk sharing button vk
wechat sharing button wechat
weibo sharing button weibo
whatsapp sharing button whatsapp
wordpress sharing button wordpress
xing sharing button xing
yahoomail sharing button yahoomail