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Brasilia: The Brazilian Supreme Court announced Tuesday that it will hold hearings on two requests submitted to it in order to prevent the holding of the Copa America in the country, casting more doubt about the continental event five days before its start.
Chief Justice Louise Fox said 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.
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.
The opening match is approaching
With the opening match looming, 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.
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.
Final say on corona virus
And last Friday, 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 that the Corona virus pandemic worsened.
“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, 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 gather 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.