Brazil players hit out at CONMEBOL over Copa América switch
The Brazilian national side criticised the last-minute decision to switch the Copa América to Brazil from Argentina amid a surge in novel coronavirus infections but said they would play in the 10-nation tournament.
The Brazilian soccer team criticised the last-minute decision to switch the Copa América to Brazil from Argentina amid a surge in novel coronavirus infections but said they would play in the 10-nation tournament which kicks off in Brasilia on Sunday.
Brazil was unexpectedly chosen to stage the Copa América after co-hosts Colombia were removed amid ongoing civil unrest and Argentina withdrew due to a surge in covid-19 cases.
Multiple news reports in Brazil had said the players were upset at not being consulted about the decision as well as the possible public health consequences, with some players reportedly reluctant to take part.
In a statement posted online early on Wednesday, the Brazil players said they were "not satisfied" with the way the South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) handled the decision.
Brazil players speak - they're against the Copa America, some for professional reasons, some for humanitarian reasons. But they will play it— Tim Vickery (@Tim_Vickery) June 9, 2021
“For different reasons, be they humanitarian or professional, we are not satisfied with the way the Copa América has been handled by CONMEBOL,” the players said.
“All the recent facts lead us to believe in an inadequate process in realising (the tournament).”
They added that they did not want to make their opposition a political issue and said they had never considered a boycott.
“We are against the organisation of the Copa América but we will never say no to playing for Brazil.”
The statement came soon after Brazil defeated Paraguay 2-0 in a World Cup qualifier in Asuncion, a result that leaves them in pole position to qualify for the World Cup in Qatar 2022.
The decision by Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro to green light the hosting of the tournament was met with surprise, given the country has recorded more than 476,000 deaths from covid-19, more than any other country outside the United States.
Brazil are due to kick off the tournament against Venezuela on June 13. Matches will be played in four cities, before culminating with the final in Rio de Janeiro on July 10.
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