Copa America 2021: Brazil consider boycotting tournament due to COVID-19 fears

Brazilian star Neymar. (Photo by Paolo Aguilar-Pool/Getty Images)
Brazilian star Neymar. (Photo by Paolo Aguilar-Pool/Getty Images)
Vatsal Vora

The 2021 Copa America is once again under scrutiny after it was reported that several players from Brazil's camp are considering whether to compete in the competition. According to the Daily Star, many in the squad have concerns about contracting the virus.

Brazilian players who play their club football in Europe are unsure whether to compete in the Copa America following their country's poor handling of the COVID-19 situation in the country. Brazil is the third most affected country in the world and have more than 16 million COVID-19 cases so far.

Speaking at a press conference ahead of Brazil's World Cup Qualifier against Ecuador, coach Tite confirmed that the players have spoken with Brazil's football federation about pulling out of the tournament. Tite said:

"We asked the players to work focused solely on preparing for the game against Ecuador. They accepted this request and asked us for a conversation with the president to tell him what their opinion is, because all the players are very clear about what they want. They spoke directly with the president and the coaching staff."
"We want to tell the fans what they think, but not now so that we can prioritize playing well and winning the game against Ecuador. This is our goal and at the end of these FIFA matches, we will tell everyone to clarify our thoughts. You have my commitment that, at the end of these games, we will tell publicly what the position is," added Tite.

Tite also said that the non-playing staff would confirm their decision once Brazil have played their qualifying matches.

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Copa America was moved to Brazil from Colombia and Argentina

The 2021 Copa America was already in a pickle even before the Brazilian squad raised concerns regarding the global pandemic. The tournament was shifted from Colombia and Argentina to Brazil just last week.

The reason why Copa America was moved on such short notice was due to political tensions in Colombia and a rise in COVID-19 cases in Argentina. It now appears that the entire tournament might be in jeopardy.

Despite not hosting the 2021 Copa America, both Colombia and Argentina are set to participate in the tournament. Copa America is scheduled to start on 13 June 2021, with the new hosts, Brazil, taking on Venezuela in Brasilia.

Brazil are the current Copa America champions, having beaten Peru in the previous iteration of the tournament in 2019.

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Edited by Ritwik Kumar
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