The Copa America overcame this Thursday what may be the last obstacle of a rough road: Brazil’s highest court gave it the green light by rejecting appeals requesting the suspension of the tournament due to the covid-19 pandemic that has left almost 480,000 dead.
At least six of the eleven magistrates of Brazil’s highest court, the minimum required, voted in favor of authorizing the regional team championship, which will kick off on Sunday with the clash between the ‘Seleçao’ and Venezuela at the Mané Garrincha stadium in Brasilia.
However, they warned about the need to reduce eventual damages.
Although it can no longer change the STF’s majority decision that the Copa América be played, the remaining judges have until 23H59 local time (02H59 GMT Friday) to vote remotely, in an extraordinary session, on the requests of the leftist Workers’ Party (PT), the National Confederation of Metalworkers and the Brazilian Socialist Party to suspend the tournament.
In their legal actions, the plaintiffs alleged sanitary reasons to prevent holding the oldest national team tournament in the world, whose most recent edition, in 2019, was also held in Brazil, with the triumph of the ‘Canarinha.’
The Supreme Court’s approval is the last obstacle overcome, on and off the field, for a tournament that should have been held in Argentina and Colombia in 2020 but postponed twelve months due to Covid-19.
The ultra-right-wing president Jair Bolsonaro, one of the most questioned leaders for his management of the pandemic, agreed to host the championship in haste after the exits weeks ago of Argentina due to the worsening of the health situation, and Colombia, amid anti-government protests that left dozens dead.
– “Control protocols” –
One of the judges who rejected the suspension requests argued that it is up to the authorities of the states that will host the matches “to define, enforce and control the protocols so that we do not have a ‘copavirus,’ source of new infections and transmission of new strains.”
At least two magistrates asked the government to present, 24 hours before the start of the world’s oldest national team tournament, a detailed plan of preventive actions, although this will be confirmed only at the end of the vote.
Since Monday last week, when Bolsonaro’s government announced the Cup, to be played without public until July 10 in Rio de Janeiro, Brasília, Cuiabá and Goiânia, it has been criticized, including calls for protests on Sunday.
The day before Mastercard announced that it had decided not to “activate” its sponsorship, withdrawing its logo from the continental tournament, and later the beer giant Ambev, part of the global giant AB Invev, informed that “its brands will not be present at the Copa America.”
This Thursday, the Diageo group, which presents itself as a world leader in premium alcoholic beverages, announced the withdrawal of “its brand actions in Brazil in the field of sponsorship of the Copa America, due to the current Brazilian health situation and in respect to the timing of the pandemic.”