This past season was an absolute grind for players as competitions were compressed into a tight schedule due to the covid-19 pandemic. Unfortunately, for many players there will not be an opportunity to get a rest as several major international tournaments were postponed from last summer to this summer. Liverpool FC’s Brazilian contingent of Alisson Becker, Fabinho, and Roberto Firmino may get an unexpected rest this summer, however, as the Copa America tournament is in serious doubt.
The tournament was originally supposed to be co-hosted by Columbia and Argentina, but the South American confederation (CONMEBOL) stripped both countries of their role as hosts. First, Colombia had their hosting rights removed due to anti-government protests, and Argentina was set to be the sole host. Just over a week later, Argentina was told they could not host due to a surge in covid-19 cases in the country. With a host needed in short order for the tournament to go on, Brazil stepped in to have the tournament played in their country despite an increasing coronavirus case load.
While the Brazilian President was happy to host the tournament, the players on the Men’s national team are not so keen. Casimero, the team captain, has spoken out about the players concerns over holding the tournament.
“Everyone knows our position in the Copa America in Brazil,” Casimero said following a World Cup Qualifier match against Ecuador on Friday. “It could not be clearer. We want to express our opinion more after the game against Paraguay [on Tuesday, [on Tuesday, June 8].”
Players from Argentina and Uruguay, including Edinson Cavani, Luis Suarez, and Sergio Aguero, have also voiced their support for the boycott of the tournament. It is really nice to see the players collectively take a stand for what looks to be a very unsafe situation.
Beyond just the players, Eduardo Paes, mayor of Rio de Janeiro, has said he will not allow matches to be played in the city if the situation stays the same. With just a week until the tournament is supposed to kick off, it seems like there is a very good chance that Copa America does not happen this summer.