June 13, 2021

Imbroglio around moving the 2021 Copa America to Brazil

After the critics, the doubt. The Brazilian government of Jair Bolsonaro affirmed, Monday, May 31, in the evening, that the holding of the Copa América in Brazil was not yet confirmed. He will make his decision on Tuesday, when the South American Football Confederation (Conmebol) announced it earlier today as a replacement place, after the withdrawal of Colombia and Argentina.

“There is nothing fixed for the moment, I want to make it very clear. We are in the middle of the process. But we are not going to shy away from this request if it is possible to respond ”, said government secretary Luiz Eduardo Ramos in Brasilia. He explained that the Brazilian government has imposed various conditions on the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) for hosting the tournament, such as the absence of an audience and the vaccination of all members of the delegations.

“This event, if it takes place, will not have spectators. For the moment, there are ten teams, in two groups, there will be 65 people per delegation, all vaccinated. The sites will be under the responsibility of the CBF ”, said the minister. “Tomorrow [mardi], we will have a definitive position ”, he said.

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Fears of a third wave in Brazil

La Conmebol announced on Sunday that it had given up organizing the competition in Argentina, where the Covid-19 pandemic has worsened. “Argentina had a commitment and we did everything to keep it, but the epidemiological situation prevented us from doing so”, declared, Monday, the head of the Argentine government, Santiago Cafiero. Ten days before, she did the same with Colombia following the social crisis that shakes this country where civil unrest has left dozens of deaths.

Monday morning, the Conmebol announced on his Twitter account that Brazil would host the tournament, which is to be held from June 13 to July 10, and thanked President Jair Bolsonaro for opening the doors to it.

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The announcement was followed by an avalanche of criticism in this country which recorded nearly 463,000 deaths from Covid-19 – the second most affected in the world -, and for which epidemiologists fear a third wave of contamination.

In this health context, some international players have expressed their opposition to the tournament being held. “I am struck by the fact that the Copa America is being played despite the current situation”, launched the Uruguayan Luis Suarez, just champion of Spain with Atlético de Madrid. His compatriot Edinson Cavani also denounced: “It is a terrible irresponsibility that everything is done to compete in the Copa America. Nothing in the social situation matters here, not even the risks associated with the virus. “

“Murderous government”

In Brazil, members of the opposition have announced that they want to go to the Supreme Court to cancel the tournament, whose host cities have not yet been defined. Marcelo Freixo, opposition member of the Socialism and Freedom Party, lambasted this decision on Twitter. “Argentina refused the Copa America due to the worsening pandemic. There the average number of deaths over the past seven days has been 470 people… Here it has been 1,844. FOUR TIMES MORE. This is what a murderous government looks like ”, he reacted.

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“The advantage is the size of our country and the number of stadiums. We can distribute “ matches across the country, Brazilian vice-president Hamilton Mourao had estimated before the government backpedaling. “We cannot say that it is safer, but there is less risk”, he had declared on leaving the Planalto palace.

If the choice is finally confirmed, it will be the sixth time that Brazil has hosted the Copa America, a competition in which they have won each time they played at home (1919, 1922, 1949, 1989 and 2019). In 2019, the country won its ninth Copa America, beating Peru (3-1) in the final.

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The World with AFP