Coronavirus: Three states suspend play as calls for break mount in Brazil

March 5 – Brazilian football is under pressure to suspend play with three states having halted the local state tournaments and calls for common sense to be applied in light of Brazil’s dramatic spike in Covid-19 deaths. 

Ceara, Paraná and Santa Catarina have all suspended play, but will allow their clubs to compete in the Brazilian cup. The death toll during the global health crisis in Brazil has now passed 260,000 and is in global terms only second to the loss of life in the United States. Local media project that the daily death toll could reach 3,000 in the coming weeks.

The dramatic situation has some in the football industry questioning the sanity of playing on. “I am appealing to the Brazilian FA to give the Brazilian Cup a break so we can postpone these matches for a little time,” said America coach Lisca in a plea to football authorities.

“I am losing friends. I know that football is entertainment, and it is important for people at home. But our lives are more important, we are not super heroes.”

His concerns were echoed by Santos president Rueda. He said: “With pain in my heart, the situation is frightening, we are losing our sensibility, we are talking about lives that being lost without any sense. Any measure to save a life is worth it.”

His club suffered an outbreak of the coronavirus last season and Rueda admitted that the health protocols can’t offer complete protection.

“Santos complies with the protocols, but practically the entire squad has already it,” explained Rueda. “It would be more prudent, although it hurts in the flesh, if we enter a period of standstill. Suspend the championships even though the clubs have taken excellent care.”

Last year, Brazil was hesitant to suspend the local game before shutting down late in March. The 2020 national championship kicked off in August and ended only last month when Flamengo retained their title in dramatic style on the final day. Across Brazil, the new campaign has already kicked off with the state championships.

The Brazilian FA (CBF) has not commented following the appeals for games to be suspended. In South America, governing body Conmebol is also struggling to organise the World Cup qualifiers later this month due to travel restrictions around the world.

Contact the writer of this story, Samindra Kunti, at moc.l1637982104labto1637982104ofdlr1637982104owedi1637982104sni@o1637982104fni1637982104