Leo Korea / AP
South America’s biggest football competition can be moved to Brazil at the last minute to save the troubled tournament less than two weeks before it starts, but Brazilian officials say there’s more to consider is.
South American Football Confederation announced That the move was a deal done after an emergency meeting on Monday morning. However, following widespread criticism and a call to bring officials before the Brazilian Supreme Court, leaders say the public can expect a final decision on Tuesday.
“Nothing is certain, but I want to emphasize very clearly that we are in the middle of this process and we are not going to back down on a request that may be possible to fulfill,” Explained Brazil’s Civil House minister Luiz Eduardo Ramos at a news conference on Monday afternoon.
Ramos said, “We are investigating the details. God willing, tomorrow we will have the final status.”
He said that if it goes ahead, the teams and their staff will have to follow health guidelines, including vaccination. Ramos also said that the competition, which is being called the Cornavirus Cup by critics, will be held in empty stadiums without spectators. Ramos said that the 10 participating teams would be allowed a maximum of 65 people per delegation.
“Nothing is signed. These are just negotiations,” he reiterated.
Copa america drama
The confusion on Monday is just the latest chapter in the chaos leading up to the tournament, in which South America, including Brazil, is hit by a global pandemic with some of the world’s worst infection and death rates.
The Copa América was to be hosted by Colombia and Argentina in the first joint tournament in the organization’s 105-year history. But Colombia was delisted on 20 May due to anti-government protests over a proposed tax increase introduced by President Ivan Duque. And on Sunday, the football federation, CONMEBOL, removed Argentina as co-hosts due to “current circumstances”.
While it did not clarify what it meant by the statement, the organization was under increasing pressure to move the tournament out of Argentina because of a surge in COVID-19 cases in that country. The government has since renewed the strict lockdown.
Brazil is a hot spot for epidemics
On Sunday, Argentine authorities reported more than 39,000 new cases after a week, including a record number of cases in a single day, with more than 77,000 deaths since the start of the pandemic. The data from the World Health Organization.
But the situation in Brazil is even Worse. The WHO reported that as of Sunday, there have been 16,391,930 confirmed cases with 459,045 deaths – the second highest number of deaths recorded.
Despite horrifying cases and mortality, President Jair Bolsonaro controversially agreed to host the competition. The far-right leader has strongly opposed the imposition of a lockdown that would shut down or restrict economic activities to contain the spread of COVID.
CONMEBOL officials publicly thanked Bolsonaro for hosting the competition that inspires joy and passion among millions of South Americans.
Thousands oppose Bolsonaro over his handling of the pandemic crisis
“It comes at a time when [Bolsonaro’s] Ratings are going down,” NPR’s Philip Reeves Told all things Considered.
On Saturday, thousands of protesters marched in anger in more than 200 towns and cities, demanding Bolsonaro’s impeachment over his handling of the health crisis. Opponents say the populist leader undermined social distancing efforts that could have stopped or halted the spread of the deadly virus, and they condemned him for his failure to secure enough vaccines.
Following Monday morning’s announcement, many public figures expressed outrage at the sudden decision to host the Copa America, with many state leaders falling flat. Refuse To host any match.
Bolsonaro has defended his response to the pandemic, and the president and his supporters criticized the crowd after mass demonstrations that went largely unmasked while ignoring social distancing guidelines.
Reeves said, “Bolsonaro supporters are bouncing, saying that if their adversaries can jam the streets like this, how can they criticize Bolsonaro for hosting Copa America.”
The tournament attracts huge audiences in South America and globally, and represents a significant financial benefit for CONMEBOL.
“The last Copa América, held in Brazil in 2019, brought in $118 million and was the second largest annual source of revenue after the Copa Libertadores, comparable to Europe’s Champions League,” Reuters Reported.
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