The Copa América will finally be played in Brazil. After the withdrawals of Colombia then Argentina for health reasons, and the vagueness surrounding the goodwill of Brazil, the kickoff of the competition can be given on June 13 after the confirmation on Tuesday 1is government June.
“Brazil will host the Copa America”President Jair Bolsonaro said at an event at the health ministry in Brasilia, assuring that at least four of the country’s 27 states were ready to host meetings. His chief of staff Luiz Eduardo Ramos, who sowed doubt on Monday saying nothing was decided yet, tweeted: “Confirmed: the Copa America will take place in Brazil. “
He then said that the matches will be played in the states of Rio de Janeiro, Mato Grosso, Goias and the Federal District, that of the capital Brasilia.
Five governors refused to host matches
This statement will not, however, calm the sharp criticisms that have been heard since. the announcement surprise Monday by Conmebol, the football body in South America, the organization of the competition by Brazil, the second most bereaved country in the world by the Covid-19 pandemic, with more than 465,000 dead.
At least five governors had immediately refused to host matches for health reasons. Sao Paulo’s Joao Doria, a fierce opponent of President Bolsonaro, said Monday he would not oppose it until he backs down on Tuesday.
Since the World Cup organized in 2014, many brand new stadiums today belong to clubs, municipalities, or states.
“It’s a real madness to organize such an event here”, said epidemiologist José David Urbaez, from the Brasilia Infectious Disease Center. “The worst phases [de la pandémie au Brésil] in 2020 were three to four times less than what we see today. We have this false impression that things have improved. The reality is that we are still in a terrible phase of very rapid spread ”, he added.
Brazil experienced a particularly deadly second wave, with the death toll dropping from 200,000 to 400,000 from January to April. To date, 21% of Brazilians have received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine and 11% have been fully immunized.
Third wave ahead
Restrictions began to ease last month when the number of daily deaths stabilized below 2,000. But experts say rising infections and hospital occupancy rates herald a third wave to come. over the next few weeks, fueled by the spread of new variants. So in the middle of the Copa América.
A parliamentary committee of inquiry in the Senate has been looking for a month into the chaotic management of the health crisis by the government.
Tuesday, the rapporteur of this commission, Renan Calheiros, appealed to the biggest star of Brazilian football, Neymar, to ask him to boycott this tournament which he describes as “Death championship”. “Neymar, I want to speak to you. Do not agree with the realization of this Copa America in Brazil. The tournament we must win is the vaccination tournament ”, he said during a hearing of the commission of inquiry.
The Brazilian players, gathered at the Teresopolis training center, near Rio, to prepare for Friday’s match against Ecuador on behalf of the World Cup-2022 qualifiers have not spoken on the subject, the daily press conferences have been canceled.
Strict compliance with health protocols required
The Brazilian states which had given their agreement to host meetings demanded strict compliance with health protocols. The Bolsonaro government had already set its conditions at Conmebol: a total closed session, as well as small delegations and all vaccinated.
Beyond the health restrictions, which vary from state to state, the organizers will have to take into account the traffic jam of matches in many cities: the Brazilian championship has just resumed and will not be interrupted during the Copa America.
And a legal doubt still remains. Several left-wing deputies have appealed to the Supreme Court to request the cancellation of the competition.