Brazil’s CBF play Russian Roulette with Covid as infected player numbers balloon

August 13 – Brazil’s CBF was forced to modify its medical protocol after positive coronavirus tests rocked the opening weekend of the country’s top flight, but, on Tuesday, four infected players were granted permission to play.

On Monday, the Brazilian football federation issued a statement, saying that it will begin testing all squad members 72 hours before matches, including those that are not on the bench. The previous protocol outlined merely testing those players that were eligible to play.

The U-turn was made after Sunday’s game between Goias and Sao Paulo had to be postponed after nine players of Goias tested positive shortly before kick-off. In the second division, Chapecoense and CSA had their midweek match postponed after 18 CSA players tested positive.

This weekend marked the opening round of matches in Brazil’s top flight as well as in some of the lower divisions. Brazil’s Serie A had been due to kick off in April, but the start was pushed back to August due to the coronavirus shutdown.

Brazil has still not contained the coronavirus registering more than 100,000 fatalities and 3 million cases. Football has not been immune and at least 151 players in the top flight have tested positive for the virus, according to Globo Esporte.

But in a remarkable move, Brazilian Atletico Goianiense were granted permission to field four players, who had tested positive for the virus, ahead of their game against defending champions Flamengo. The club argued that the four players had complied with the quarantine protocol and no longer had the potential to contaminate someone.

It is a line of reasoning the CBF followed. The president of the CBF’s Medical Commission Jorge Pagura said: “We rely on a United States CDC standard, already accepted by the World Health Organization. This standard provides that, after a positive PCR exam, ten days’ isolation is sufficient to release the patient.”

Contact the writer of this story, Samindra Kunti, at moc.l1600634173labto1600634173ofdlr1600634173owedi1600634173sni@o1600634173fni1600634173