Senate committee staff recently raised concerns about Brazil hosting the tournament amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Members of the Brazilian Senate investigating team into the country’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic have called for the upcoming Copa América soccer tournament to be postponed, citing Low vaccination rates and the risk of spreading the virus.
In a letter to the country’s soccer team on Sunday, Senate committee staff said only 10.77 percent of the population had received the first doses of coronavirus vaccines as of Friday across Brazil.
A Senate committee in late April began its investigation into far-right President Jair Bolsonaro’s handling of the pandemic, which has killed more than 472,000 people across the South American country, according to Johns Hopkins University data.
“Brazil does not provide health security for the organization of an international tournament of this scale. In addition to conveying a false sense of security and normality, in contrast to the fact that Brazilians live, it would encourage human gatherings and set a bad example,” the staff said in their letter.
“We are not against the Copa America in Brazil or anywhere else. But we think the tournament can wait until the country is ready to host it.”
Staff are the latest to raise concerns about plans to stage the international tournament in Brazil, where vaccination rates remain low and public health experts have warned of a possible new wave of infections.
Brazil was unexpectedly chosen last week to host the Copa America by the South American Football Confederation, CONMEBOL, after Colombia was forced to withdraw due to ongoing social unrest while co-host Argentina was excluded amid high rates of coronavirus infection.
“As far as it is up to me, and all ministers, including the health minister, it is so. Everyone has decided,” said Bolsonaro, a COVID-19 skeptic who has rejected calls for public health measures such as lockdowns to stop the spread of the virus.
But questions still swirl about whether the tournament will continue, with some players and coaches raising concerns.
On Wednesday, Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni said “Brazil is not the best place”, while Uruguay coach Martin Lasarte described the decision to play the tournament in Brazil as a “big and great risk”.
The World Leagues Forum (WLF), which represents more than 40 professional associations and their clubs, also said in an open letter to FIFA and CONMEBOL on Saturday that South American players should be allowed to opt out. in the tournament.
However, on Sunday Argentina said it would take part in the tournament, which is scheduled to take place from June 13 to July 10.
The country’s Football Association (AFA) said in a statement that Argentina “confirms its participation in the Copa America, as evidenced by its sportsmanship throughout history.”
The AFC added that it will provide all the “tools to ensure the special care” needed to meet health protocols during the Copa Cup.
Meanwhile, Brazilian media reports this week said the country’s players do not want to play in a hastily arranged tournament while they are busy playing to qualify for next year’s World Cup.
Brazil captain Carlos Casemiro said the team will make a statement on Tuesday about whether or not they wish to compete in the Copa America.