The fate of the Copa America is in jeopardy a few days before its launch, with the Brazilian Supreme Court entering the line on Tuesday, June 8, 2021, after announcing the holding of hearings regarding two requests submitted to it to prevent the holding of the continental championship in the country, at a time when the players of “Celeção” expressed their opposition. Their establishment on their land, especially since Brazil is considered one of the countries most affected by “Covid-19”. </p><div> <p> The Continental Confederation, "Conmebol", is struggling to hold the continental championship, which was originally postponed from last summer due to the repercussions of the Corona virus.
The tournament, which includes 10 teams, is scheduled to start on Sunday and continue until July 10, and was originally scheduled in Colombia and Argentina, but the first was excluded due to violent anti-government protests, and the second due to the outbreak of the Corona virus.
With the opening match approaching, Brazil stepped in last week to rescue the tournament after CONMEBOL knocked Argentina out of the hospitality accounts.
But Brazil is also suffering from “Covid-19”, and experts warn that it is facing a new boom that a major international sports tournament may exacerbate.
The epidemic has so far claimed the lives of nearly 475,000 people in Brazil, which ranks second in terms of the number of deaths behind the United States.
It now appears that holding the tournament in Brazil is not a given after the Supreme Court entered the line to discuss the possibility of preventing its holding in the country.
Its president, Louise Fox, said Tuesday that due to the “exceptional nature of the case” the decision was made for the 11-member court to hear the case in an extraordinary virtual session Thursday.
A few hours later, the Brazilian players came out with a joint statement after their sixth consecutive victory in the South American qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup at the expense of their host Paraguay 2-0, in which they said, “We are against organizing the Copa America, but we will never say no to the Brazilian national team.”
It was reported that Neymar and his teammates with coach Tite were not at all aware that the tournament would move to their country.
The players pointed their arrows at CONMEBOL, expressing “our dissatisfaction with CONMEBOL’s handling of the Copa America. Recent events lead us to believe that the process of organizing the tournament is inadequate.”
Football and politics
Hosting the tournament has become a contentious and political issue in the country, especially after right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro, who regularly defied the advice of experts on containing the epidemic, gave his blessing to host it, ignoring the advice of epidemiologists who expressed their concerns, like some coaches and players of the ten participating countries.
The Supreme Court agreed to consider two calls submitted by the National Metalworkers Union and opposition parliamentarian Julio Delgado and his Brazilian Socialist Party.
The National Metalworkers Union believes that hosting the tournament “risks causing an increase in injuries and deaths from Covid-19,” the court said in a statement agreeing to hear the case.
As for Delgado and the Brazilian Socialist Party, they consider that hosting “violates the basic rights to life and health.”
Several other requests have also been made to prevent the tournament from taking place in different courts, including another to the Supreme Court by the leftist Workers’ Party of former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, a potential opponent of Bolsonaro in next year’s presidential election.
Threat from Rio de Janeiro
On Friday, June 4, 2021, the mayor of Rio de Janeiro announced that he would not hesitate to cancel the Copa America matches scheduled in the city in the event of the worsening of the Corona virus pandemic.
“I do not see any point in hosting the Copa America matches,” Eduardo Paes said in his weekly press conference on the health situation.
He pointed out that club matches, such as the Brazilian Championship and the Libertadores Cup for South American clubs, were allowed in Rio behind closed doors, according to a decree valid until June 14, 2021, that is, until the day after the start of the Copa America from the capital, Brasilia.
And he threatened, “But if the situation worsens, we will have another decree that will put an end to that,” that is, for football matches in the city, explaining that the organizers “at no time contacted the health authorities in the municipality.”
June 14 will be the day when Rio will host its first scheduled matches, and Argentina will bring together Lionel Messi with Chile at the “Nilton Santos” stadium, which hosted the athletics competitions during the 2016 Olympics.
Seven matches will be held in this stadium, including one of the two semi-final matches, with the final being in the city as well, but at the legendary “Maracana” stadium.
Brazilian officials said matches will be played without fans, with mandatory tests imposed on teams every 48 hours, as well as restrictions on their movement and the use of chartered flights to take them to matches in the four host cities of Rio, Brasilia, Cuiaba and Goiania.
But the Ministry of Health on Monday backed away from plans to compel players, coaches and crews to receive the vaccine against the virus.
Health Minister Marcelo Quiroga said it was too late to ensure immunity and that side effects after the vaccine “could negatively affect the performance of players”, since the vaccine takes two weeks to take effect.