Brazil might be hosting the Copa America, but whether the Brazilian soccer squad wants to participate in the tournament due to the uncontrolled state of the pandemic in the country remains to be seen.
Brazil coach Tite said on Thursday during a media conference that his players asked for a meeting with Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) President Rogerio Caboclo to discuss the issue.
Brazilian media reported that the players had discussed the possibility of not participating in the tournament, which is set to start on June 13.
Brazilian soccer team captain Casemiro also spoke after Brazil´s victory against Ecuador in a World Cup qualifier on Friday – the first national player to speak publicly since the announcement on Monday of Brazil as the host of the Copa America.
The Real Madrid soccer star affirmed that the players will go public about the issue on Tuesday after the match against Paraguay on June 8 to “not lose the focus from the World Cup qualifier.”
“Everyone knows our stance (on the issue),” said Casemiro. “Tite made it clear. We want to express our opinion, whether it’s right or not, I don’t know, but we want to express it.
“Let’s talk at the right time. We are all together when someone speaks, speaks for everyone (on the team). It has to be unanimous, all together,” Casemiro told Brazilian Globo television channel.
In a surprising move by CONMEBOL – South America’s Football Confederation – in agreement with the Brazilian federal government backed by President Jair Bolsonaro, Brazil was announced as the new host of the Copa America, due to sanitary and political problems involving Argentina and Colombia, the original hosts of the tournament.
The change of venue for the Copa America has generated a series of criticisms, both within the South American football community and among Brazilian public figures.
It will be the second time in a row the tournament is held in Brazil, which has lost more than 465,000 lives to the novel coronavirus, more than any country except the US.
Brazil registered 1,682 Covid-19 deaths on Thursday and 83,391 new cases, according to data released by the nation’s Health Ministry.
FIFPro, the worldwide players’ union, says it has “serious concerns” about the Copa America being relocated with such little time to prepare and will support any players that decide it is unsafe to compete.
“The latest plan to arrange – at extremely short notice – for hundreds of footballers to compete in a tournament of such complexity leaves open uncertainty for each and every one of them, and their families,” FIFPro said in a statement.
“As with previous national team competitions during the COVID-19 emergency period, players must be able to prioritize their own and their families’ health without the risk of sanctions.”