Copa America Will Go On As Court Rejects Injunctions

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Aerial view of Nilton Santos stadium ahead of Copa America Brazil 2021 on June 08, 2021 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. After a controversial decision, CONMEBOL determined Brazil will host the next Copa America from June 13 to July 11. (Photo by Buda Mendes/Getty Images)

BRASILIA, Brazil, Fri. June 11, 2021 (Reuters) – Brazil’s Supreme Court on Thursday rejected two of three injunctions sought to prevent the Copa America soccer tournament being held in the country because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The 10-nation South American event is due to kick off on Sunday at Brasilia’s Mané Garrincha stadium despite criticism of its organizer for hastily relocating the tournament from co-hosts Colombia and Argentina.

The court is expected to throw out a third injunction bid and allow the tournament to go ahead.

Justice Carmen Lucia said in her decision that it does not exempt authorities from adopting public health safety measures needed to prevent transmission of the virus that has killed almost half a million Brazilians.

Last week, the South American Football Confederation unexpectedly relocated the tournament after Colombia was dropped because of civil unrest and Argentina withdrew after a surge in coronavirus infections.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who has played down the severity of the coronavirus and fought against lockdowns, threw his support behind the move.

But public health experts and footballers questioned the wisdom of hosting the tournament with a pandemic raging. The injunction requests were presented by opposition parties and the national metalworking industry labor union.

(Reporting by Anthony Boadle; editing by Richard Pullin)