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Brazil’s Supreme Court has agreed to hear two requests to block Copa America, after several groups and individuals raised concerns about the South American nation hosting the international tournament amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Chief Justice Luiz Fux said on Tuesday that, given the “exceptional nature of the case”, he had decided to have the full 11-member court take up the matter in an extraordinary virtual session on Thursday.
The 10-nation championships are scheduled to kick off on Sunday and run through July 10.
But some coaches, players, Brazilian Senate staffers and others have raised concerns and questions about the tournament, saying it risks worsening Brazil’s already sky-high coronavirus infection and death rates.
More than 16.9 million cases have been reported to date in Brazil and more than 474,000 people have died – the second-highest death tally in the world after the United States – according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
Many Brazilians blame far-right President Jair Bolsonaro, a COVID-19 sceptic who has rejected public health measures to stem the virus’s spread, for the surging pandemic.
A Senate commission in April launched an investigation into Bolsonaro’s handling of the coronavirus, including whether he acted too slowly and inefficiently to secure much-needed coronavirus vaccines.
But the South American football confederation, CONMEBOL, confirmed Brazil as the host last week after Colombia and Argentina were nixed as co-hosts due to continuing unrest in the former, and surging COVID-19 infections in the latter.
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