Brazil plays on despite mounting Covid death toll

March 11 – In Brazil, the ball keeps rolling, even as the country experiences it most dramatic moment of the coronavirus pandemic yet, breaking national daily death toll records day after day. 

The Paulista Football Federation (FPF) has ruled that Sao Paulo’s state championship will continue despite pressure to suspend play.  The organisation met with the State Prosecutor’s Office hours before the government’s announcement and defended the decision to continue on the grounds that clubs are able to maintain a safe health protocol.

The Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) has used similar arguments to support the continuation of games. Across, Brazil the state championships are under way.

Local authorities in Sao Paulo had however suggested at the start of the week that the ‘Paulista’ championship could be suspended because of the dramatic coronavirus situation. However, in the end they bowed to pressure from the FPF.

“These recommendations from the Public Prosecutor’s Office (for the stoppage of the championship) accompany the discussion of measures that may be necessary in addition to what we have today in the red phase,” said Paulo Menezes, coordinator of the Covid Contingency Center.

“We are working on how to make possible measures that can actually increase the level of social isolation. What we need is to reduce contact between people. This is done by staying at home. We already had a positive result in the first days of the red phase. They (new restrictive measures) may be part of a series of measures that will add to what we already have today. If necessary, the governor will announce as soon as it is convenient.”

Last week, Ceara, Paraná and Santa Catarina had all suspended play, but will allow their clubs to compete in the Brazilian cup.

The dramatic situation had 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.”

Contact the writer of this story, Samindra Kunti, at moc.l1638846584labto1638846584ofdlr1638846584owedi1638846584sni@o1638846584fni1638846584