The Copa América, the oldest soccer tournament in the world, will take place in Brazil from June 13, despite the fact that a part of the population opposes it because the country suffers from a health crisis due to the high number of infections and deaths from Covid-19. A few days before the initial whistle, the event awaits the decision of the Supreme Court of Justice, which will vote on the holding of the competition, and faces the withdrawal of some sponsors.
The 47th edition of the Copa América will be marked for history. The tournament, which brings together the 10 teams belonging to the South American Football Confederation (Conmebol) and has been created for 105 years, has been marred in recent days by a series of extra-sports events that include, among other things, actions and political pronouncements.
Brazil will host CONMEBOL @America Cup 2021! The best soccer in the world will bring joy and passion to millions of South Americans. CONMEBOL thanks the President @jairbolsonaro and his team, as well as the Brazilian Football Confederation @CBF_Futebol,
– CONMEBOL.com (@CONMEBOL) May 31, 2021
It is worth remembering that this edition, initially scheduled for 2020, was held in Argentina and Colombia, being the first time that two countries host the event simultaneously. However, a few days after its completion, both nations had to be replaced by the health crisis, in the case of Argentina, and the social crisis in Colombia.
Before the withdrawal of the headquarters, Conmebol in an unexpected move announced the realization of the America’s Cup in Brazil. This decision was viewed with surprise and skepticism by many in the nation because it is the most affected in the region by the pandemic.
After learning about the decision, political parties opposed to the Bolsonaro government, including the Workers’ Party (PT), spoke out against the event on the grounds that it could worsen the health crisis.
Bolsonaro stands as savior of the cup amid protests
From the outset, the president of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, has been skeptical of Covid-19, despite having contracted the disease, and has defended at all costs keeping various sectors open in order to avoid a fall in the economy.
But Brazil, despite government support, is presented as the worst candidate to host an event such as the Copa América, since according to official figures, the nation registers 17.1 million infections and 479,515 deaths associated with the disease.
Data: 06/09/2021, 18h
• 85,748 not last period.
• 17,122,877 accumulated.
• 2,723 no last period
• 479,515 accumulated deaths.
More information: https://t.co/ZjV7hqhXrq
– CONASS (@ConassOficial) June 9, 2021
Prior to the decision of the governing body of soccer in South America, President Jair Bolsonaro had to face a series of protests against him for the management of the pandemic. Additionally, in the Senate, a commission investigates alleged omissions by the Executive during the outbreak of the disease, which would have caused an increase in infections and deaths in some of the country’s regions.
All the tension, which occurred days before the resumption of the qualifying process for the Qatar 2022 World Cup, motivated some players of the Brazilian national soccer team to generate uncertainty about a possible non-participation in the tournament. However, the situation calmed down after a statement issued during the night of June 8 after the match between the ‘canarinha’ and her counterpart from Paraguay.
In the document, the players expressed being against the cup for “the management that Conmebol gave to the tournament” and made it clear that they will play it.
“We are a cohesive group, but with different ideas. For various reasons, whether humanitarian or professional, we are dissatisfied with the conduct of the Copa América by Conmebol, whether it was held later in Chile or even in Brazil ”, reads part of the statement issued by the players.
Amid the turbulent environment, the Brazilian Football Confederation, which is responsible for organizing the event, announced the separation for a period of 30 days from its president, Rogério Caboclo, for the investigations into an alleged case of sexual harassment.
Judicial decision and withdrawal of sponsors, another against for the tournament
The tension generated by the cup in Brazilian territory at a political level led some opponents to introduce petitions to the Supreme Federal Court of Brazil (STF) to prevent the tournament from taking place.
Regarding these petitions, among which is one issued by the PT, the judges would vote on the possibility of suspending the event. According to the Brazilian newspaper ‘Globo’, five ministers (magistrates), out of a total of 11 that make up the body, rejected the requests to cancel the cup.
Among those who chose to hold the event is Minister Ricardo Lewandowski, who on other occasions has opposed President Bolsonaro for avoiding measures imposed at the local level to avoid contagion, whose decision in this case is based on the holding of football matches. of the domestic championship and others of an international nature such as the Copa Libertadores or Sudamericana while requesting the presentation of a biosafety protocol by the states that will host the matches.
Another blow that the tournament suffered within days of its completion was the withdrawal of support from some sponsoring brands. MasterCard, the credit card multinational, indicated in a statement that it would withdraw its logo from the tournament but that it maintained its financial commitment, which was not specified. A similar measure was taken by the AB Inbev group.
In the Government of Brazil, which is working on a series of measures to prevent an increase in infections during the event, it has been announced that sanitary protocols will be enforced, including the absence of the public in the stadiums.
Likewise, and thanks to the support of Conmebol, it has requested that the players from the participating countries arrive in the country vaccinated and an evaluation will be carried out on the entire team, including the coaching staff, every 48 hours.
With EFE, Reuters and Brazilian media