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Copa America kicks off in Brasilia with empty stadiums, amid protests and disputes

The 47th edition of the Copa America began last Sunday, June 13th, hosted by Brazil and with matches occurring in the cities of Brasilia, Cuiabá, Goiânia and Rio de Janeiro. The opening match was between Brazil and Venezuela in Rio de Janeiro. However, the tournament, which has always been a cause of celebration for soccer-loving Brazilians, takes place in a different setting this year. The Copa America is only happening in Brazil because two other countries that were supposed to host the event, Colombia and Argentina, withdrew at the last minute. The reason for this in a nutshell: the pandemic. Brazil considered it opportune to take on the task without any prior planning. In addition to this, there is of course the list of almost 500,000 coronavirus deaths, and the poor decisions that federal authorities have been making while fighting it. Thus, the Copa America began this Sunday with empty stands, amid criticism, protests, threats from national team players to not go onto the pitch, and even judicial proceedings. To allow or not allow, that is the question Confirmation that the Copa America would take place arrived on May 31st. Since then, the event has been delayed due to the health calamity going on in the country. Three legal actions reached the Federal Supreme Court (STF) in a bid to cancel the event. On Thursday, June 10th, four days before the start of the tournament, the country's supreme court ruled on whether a soccer championship could take place in the country or not, despite its obvious lack of jurisdiction. The Supreme Court issued a ruling demanding that the government plan according to and comply with health measures, so as to minimize the risks of contagion, with potential fines and even detention for violators. In the regional courts of cities where games will be held, there are lawsuits filed by state prosecutors trying to interrupt the tournament, which may continue under a cloud of legal uncertainty until it ends. In any case, when it comes to football Brazil was the favorite in last Sunday's game, and is also one of the favorites to win the Cup.

Edited by: Vinicius Segalla