Copa America: Brazilian senator calls on Neymar not to enter the field in “Championship of death”

The reporter of this investigation, Brazilian Senator Renan Calheiros, called the Copa America a “Championship of death” on Tuesday and called on Brazilian national team star Neymar not to participate in the tournament.

“Neymar, do not take the field in this Copa America, while your friends, your relatives, your acquaintances continue to die and the vaccine does not reach our country,” Calheiros told Radio Eldorado.

“This is not the league that we have to compete in. We have to compete in the vaccination championship. It is in this championship that you have to score goals, for our score to change.

” On this point [vaccination], we are in the last [few] places. In the ‘death championship’ we are in second place, with the second highest death toll in the world, “he added.” The Brazilian team cannot agree with that. Intensive care and cemeteries are full. Under what conditions are we going to celebrate a goal for Brazil? “

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The Copa America was to be co-hosted by Argentina and Colombia, before the two were stripped of their hosting rights.
According to the World Health Organization, 60 million doses of vaccines have been administered in Brazil.

The 2020 edition of the Copa America has been postponed for a year due to the coronavirus pandemic and was due to be held in Argentina and Colombia between June 13 and July 10, the first time in the history of the tournament, it had to be organized jointly.

However, Colombia was stripped of its responsibilities as a co-organizer on May 20 following protests across the country that were sparked by a controversial tax reform introduced by President Iván Duque, before Argentina followed suit. not on May 31.

CONMEBOL, the South American Football Confederation, did not say why the tournament was withdrawn from Argentina, but the country is currently suffering from an increase in coronavirus cases, with a seven-day average of more than 30 000 new cases daily, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Bolsonaro announced that the Copa America will take place in the Federal District of Brazil and in the states of Rio de Janeiro, Mato Grosso and Goiás and said that all four state governors have agreed to host the tournament.

FIFPro, the global players’ union, said they had “serious concerns” about the Copa America relocation with so little time to prepare and will support any players who decide he is not. sure to compete.

“The latest plan to organize – in an extremely short time – the participation of hundreds of footballers in a tournament of such complexity leaves open uncertainty for all of them and their families,” FIFPro said in a statement. .

“As with previous national team competitions during the COVID-19 emergency, players must be able to prioritize their health and that of their families without the risk of penalties.”

The Copa America will be played by the 10 South American national teams.

Peru head coach Ricardo Gareca, who guided the team to the final in 2019 where they lost to Brazil, said it seems sportingly unfair for a country to organize consecutive tournaments.

“I think all of South America has problems,” he told reporters at Peru’s pre-match press conference. “I don’t believe there is a country in South America that has no problem with the pandemic.

“I don’t think the Copa America is taking place in the country where it was played before, not so much because of the pandemic. The pandemic is everywhere.”

Chile, along with Ecuador and the United States, were one of the countries presented as hosts of the Copa America after Argentina were stripped of their hosting responsibilities.

The Chilean national team won back-to-back Copa America titles in 2015 and 2016, but the decision to continue with the tournament has not been supported in many parts of the country.

Matias Walker, representative of Chile’s fifth district, said Chile should consider not sending a team at all.

“The Chilean Football Federation, ANFP, needs to seriously assess whether or not to expose national teams, officials, workers and managers themselves to travel to a long tournament in a country like Brazil, which is currently the epicenter of infections and deaths on the continent, ”he said.

“And that has been an example of government irresponsibility through the Bolsonaro government, where new variations appear every week.”

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