Brazil's Supreme Court Thursday turned down three appeals to stop the Copa American football tournament from going ahead as planned due to the number of covid-19 infections in the country.
The ruling garnered the votes of the first six of the eleven judges to cast their opinions, thus rendering the remaining five as pure technicalities, although in the end ten of the eleven members of the highest court voted in favour of holding the event, rejecting an injunction submitted by the opposition Workers Party and the Brazilian Socialist Party.
The plaintiffs had claimed the lack of control of the health crisis in a country that already has almost 480,000 deaths and is on the verge of a new pandemic wave was an argument good enough to prevent the holding of the championship, which will bring together ten national teams.
However, the court ruled that security protocols be submitted and observed, to which the South American Football Confederation (Conmebol) replied that such instruments were already being used in local Brazilian football competitions.
Justice Carmen Lucia Antunes had anticipated governors and mayors had the power to suspend or allow activities in their territories, be they economic, social and even sports. Antunes said it was up to them to define, enforce and control the protocols so that there is no “copavirus.”
She also pointed out that the local authorities, if it were the case, could be held responsible in the future for their administrative decisions and the consequences that they eventually generate. Such a jurisprudence has been criticized on various occasions by Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who said governors and mayors have “destroyed jobs” by suspending economic activities to contain covid-19.
Ironically, it is the same principle whereby Copa America was allowed to go on, something which Bolsonaro did not hesitate to accept once Argentina and Colombia gave up organizing it despite heavy criticism from political opponents, health experts and even some players.
We are against the organization of the Copa América, but we will never say no to the Brazilian team, several players told the media.
And in addition to a change in marketing strategies from Ambev brewers and Mastercard, the firm Diageo, owner of brands such as Johnnie Walker, Smirnoff and Tanqueray, spoke in the same direction, which as well as the other companies will refrain from promoting their products in this tournament.
Copa America will kick off Sunday in Brasilia with the game between hosts Brazil and Venezuela.