“It is an example of how not to do things in a pandemic”

An image of the last Copa América, which was also made in Brazil.  Photo: AP.

© Victor R. Caivano
An image of the last Copa América, which was also made in Brazil. Photo: AP.

“Brazil will host CONMEBOL Copa América 2021! The best soccer in the world will bring joy and passion to millions of South Americans. CONMEBOL thanks President Jair Bolsonaro and his team, as well as the Brazilian Football Confederation, for opening the doors of that country to what is today the safest sporting event in the world. South America will shine in Brazil with all its stars! ”. With this ad The South American Football Confederation announced its determination to bring the continental tournament to one of the countries most affected by the pandemic, which puts in absolute doubt that appreciation that it is “the safest sporting event in the world.”

Although the Amazon nation is experiencing a present of social unrest, added to the difficult pandemic context, for Alejandro Domínguez, president of Conmebol, “Brazil is experiencing a moment of stability, it has proven infrastructure and recent accumulated experience to organize a competition of this magnitude.”

The Paraguayan’s words did not go down well in the State of Pernambuco, where Governor Paulo Camara vetoed the holding of the contest in that area of ​​Brazil, which is one of the most affected. “Although it has not been officially requested by the Brazilian Football Confederation, the state government reinforces that the current epidemiological scenario does not allow an event of the magnitude of the Copa América to take place in the territory of Pernambuco ”.

In Chile, meanwhile, there is annoyance over the decision made in Paraguay, although at least a feeling of relief that it was not organized in the country, as illustrated by Dr. José Miguel Bernucci, national secretary of the Medical College. “For all of us who work in the healthcare world It is good news that, at least, it does not take place in Chile. We believed that the sanitary conditions were not in our country to be able to carry it out. Many of us were afraid that even such a condition could be evaluated, “he says.

For the doctor, it is a mistake to carry out the tournament and Conmebol is not evaluating the situation well. “Unfortunately, Brazil, from the beginning of the pandemic until now, has been an example of how probably not to do things properly. It must be remembered that Brazil, as a result of not controlling infections due to the number of inhabitants it has, has generated the appearance of two variants, which are much more contagious: p1 and p2, and a large part of the epidemiological problems in Latin America is due to the appearance of these variants ”, he emphasizes.

Meanwhile, Deputy Matías Walker (DC) believes that a decision must be made in this regard. “The Chilean Football Federation, the ANFP, have to seriously evaluate whether or not to expose the national teams, to the officials, workers and the leaders themselves to travel to a long tournament to a country like Brazil, which at this moment is the epicenter of infections and deaths on the continent and which has been an example of government irresponsibility through of the Bolsonaro government, where new variants appear every week, “he says.

Bernucci also has a similar opinion. “I would recommend (to the ANFP) that they not go, but if they decide to go, what is required is to have knowledge of the protocols and to do a very strict control when the players return to the country. In that sense, isolation in a sanitary hotel for 10 to 14 days, with daily monitoring and PCR. And if this were positive, isolation to identify the entry of variants. Then, probably, the management problems are going to be much bigger. Both from the epidemiological point of view as well as the associated problems. Therefore, it would not be so advisable to attend. In addition, one of the places where it would be played would be Manaus, which is precisely the place of appearance of one of those variants “, he warns.

While Walker fears for the inoculation scheme of the selected ones: “I have seen that the Red players, in general, do not have both vaccines. Some are getting vaccinated in Chile for the first time, as is the case with the main team leaders. Therefore, one thing is the bad decision of Conmebol, to move the Copa América to a country with such high numbers of infections and deaths; but another thing is the decision our leaders have to make to expose the players, no matter how much Conmebol says that all sanitary conditions will be in place. If there is anyone who cannot guarantee anything at the moment, it is the government of Brazil ”.

Along the same lines, Congressman Eduardo Durán (RN) also believes that Chile’s participation in the event should be studied.I do not share that #CopaAmerica It is carried out in Brazil, a country that has the highest rates of contagion and deaths in the world. I think that @ANFPChile risk the health and life of our players if you participate in a competition where there is an uncontrolled health crisis “, published on their social networks.

In addition, Sifup also expressed concern and announced that it will communicate with its international peers. “An uncontrolled pandemic and constant protests against the government constitute a worrying scenario for the realization of sporting events. We got in touch with @FIFPRO and we express our concern and alarm for the confirmation of the Cup in Brazil ”, the entity anticipated, through its Twitter account.

Another who spoke in the same way was José Luis Chilavert. The former goalkeeper of the Paraguayan team urged the footballers to speak out. “It is time for the players of the selected teams to be respected and not treated as slaves, we must rebel against these corrupt people who do not care about the lives of all of you, united we will defeat the corruption that reigns in South American football”, public.

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