The Copa America will finally kick off on Sunday in Brazil after the Brazilian Supreme Court ruled against three appeals to stop the tournament from happening on Thursday.
Brazil has been one of the worst hit countries in the world when it comes to COVID-19, with almost 480,000 deaths due to the virus and another wave seemingly on the way, so the decision to hold the tournament in the country understandably drew a lot of criticism.
Yet, the majority decision of the Brazilian Supreme Court means that the Copa America in Brazil will be able to begin on Sunday. There was an understanding of the situation in the country, though, as CONMEBOL have ruled that the national teams will have to be in a bubble and there will be no fans in the stands.
Bolsonaro is not happy
Brazil’s far-right president Jair Bolsonaro has lamented the restrictions that the Copa America will have, as he has accused governors and mayors of having “destroyed jobs” by suspending economic activities in order to try and contain COVID-19.
However, Bolsonaro did not hesitate to put up Brazil’s hand when it came to hosting the tournament once Colombia and Argentina withdrew from organising it.
The timid resistance of the players
On May 31, when CONMEBOL announced that Brazil would host the 2021 Copa America after receiving Bolsonaro‘s blessing, it sparked a wave of criticism.
Brazil and the other South American teams even considered not playing, but in the end they have opted to still represent their countries at the tournament.
“We are against the organisation of the Copa America, but we will never say no to the Brazilian national team,” said players and members of Brazil‘s coaching staff in a statement released on Tuesday.
However, criticism of the tournament resonated with some of the companies sponsoring the Copa America.
Mastercard announced on Tuesday their decision not to promote their products at this year’s Copa America, as did Ambev, the Brazilian subsidiary of the Belgian multinational AB InBev, the world’s largest brewer.
This Thursday, Diageo, the owner of brands such as Johnnie Walker, Smirnoff and Tanqueray, also made the same announcement, and like the other companies they will refrain from promoting their products at this tournament.