There has been a lot of controversy surrounding Copa America as CONMEBOL decided to move the tournament to Brazil. Most recently, Brazil’s Supreme Court has ruled in favour of the country hosting this year’s Copa America, following a legal challenge brought by parties concerned about the risks of holding the tournament during the pandemic. Controversy continues to surround the competition, with alcoholic drinks company Diageo withdrawing from the sponsorship deal with the tournament. Payments firm Mastercard and brewer Ambev had earlier announced they would not be working around the event.
France24 reported that a majority of Brazil’s 11 Supreme Court judges voted in favour of the tournament at a hearing late on Thursday local time. Some judges ordered the government to take extra public safety measures. Brazil was only appointed host of the tournament last week after the South American football confederation CONMEBOL stripped Argentina of hosting rights due to rising Covid-19 cases in the country.
The decision has caused furore in some quarters in Brazil due to the country’s Covid-19 challenges as the death toll mounts. Jair Bolsonaro, (Brazil’s president), who has taken a hands-off approach to the pandemic has backed his country’s hosting of the Copa América. The Brazilian football team has expressed concerns about the tournament, but eventually committed to taking part. DW reported that Brazil has said no fans will be allowed into stadiums to watch matches, and teams will be tested for Covid-19 every 48 hours, among other measures.
After weeks of controversy, football’s oldest international tournament will get underway on Sunday. Lionel Messi’s presence will be a big draw as he tries yet again to win a trophy with Argentina. In addition to the big names, the ongoing chaos that has surrounded this edition of Copa America will make it one of the most remembered and infamous tournaments in the history of football.