New doubts cloud Copa America in Brazil


AFP, Sau Paulo

New doubts gathered Tuesday over the Copa America five days from kickoff, as Brazil's Supreme Court agreed to consider blocking the troubled tournament and the Brazilian national team's players said they were against holding it.

Organizers are battling the odds to pull off the South American football championships this year despite the coronavirus pandemic.

It has forced them into a last-minute search for an emergency host country that ended with the controversial choice of Brazil last week.

Brazil's Supreme Court said it would rule Thursday on two requests to block the 10-nation tournament, which is scheduled to open Sunday and run through July 10.

Chief Justice Luiz Fuxsaid given the "exceptional nature of the case," he had decided to have the full 11-member court take up the matter in an extraordinary virtual session.

Hours later, the Brazilian national team's players said they were against holding the tournament, but put to rest rumors that they were planning a boycott. "We are against organizing the Copa America, but we will never say no to the Brazilian national team," the players said in a joint statement on social media.

Neymar and team -- as well as Brazil's coach, Tite -- were reportedly caught off guard by news the tournament would be held in Brazil.

The players were blunt in their criticism of South American football confederation CONMEBOL.

"We are dissatisfied with CONMEBOL's handling of the Copa America," they said.

"Recent events lead us to believe the process of organizing the tournament will be inadequate."