Copa America 2021 will go ahead. Despite losing both its original co-hosts less than a month ago. Despite player concerns about it being relocated to Brazil, with some of the highest COVID-19 case rates in the region. Despite talk of team and player boycotts. Despite a slew of reasons it probably shouldn’t, Copa America will kick off on Sunday, June 13th.
If there was any doubt about that, at least from the point of view of the players for unexpected hosts Brazil, that was put to rest today when many—including Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson Becker—took to social media to air both their dissatisfaction with the situation and their commitment to turning out for their national team at Copa America.
“For the more than 200 million fans we write this letter to express our thoughts on Copa America,” Alisson began. “We are a strong group, but with different ideas. For various reasons, be they humanitarian or professional, we are unsatisfied with how Copa America has been salvaged by CONMEBOL and would have concerns wherever it was hosted.”
“All recent facts lead us to believe there has been an inadequate process. It is important to emphasise at no time did we want to make this a political discussion. We are aware of the importance of our position. We follow what is said in the media and are present on social media. But also we want to avoid false information with our names being circulated.”
It’s a nearly impossible position the players have been put in, knowing that had they backed out they would have become targets for intense criticism at home. Though for those who have yet to receive their vaccination, South American football’s governing body will at least be offering vaccinations ahead of the tournament—for players and support staff alike.
“Finally, we remember that we are workers, football players,” Alisson added. “We have a mission we want to achieve wearing the historic yellow and green jersey of the five-time world champions. We are against the way the Copa America has been organised, but we will never say no to the Brazilian national team.”