Brazil court bars Flamengo match against Palmeiras over virus outbreak

Source: AFP Published: 2020/9/27 17:13:41

A court issued an injunction Saturday suspending an upcoming Brazilian league match after at least 19 players and the coach at top club Flamengo tested positive for coronavirus.

The decision barring Sunday's away match against Palmeiras in Sao Paulo is the latest twist in a messy ­COVID-­19 saga for Flamengo, the reigning Brazilian league and South American champions.

The Rio de Janeiro club vocally pushed for the resumption of play after football was suspended for the pandemic, only to be hit by a huge outbreak of the virus.

The labor court ruling granted a request from the football club employees' union for Rio de Janeiro state, which argued that the match would expose club employees to undue health risks.

"It must be emphasized that testing is carried out two to three days before matches. Given the outbreak [at Flamengo], other employees may have been infected after their tests," Judge Filipe Olmo wrote in the ruling.

He set a fine of 2 million reais ($365,000) in case the match went ahead.

Flamengo had previously asked the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) to suspend the match. But the CBF denied the request, saying there were adequate health protocols in place and that the club would have to rely on substitute players.

Flamengo were already forced to use a raft of substitutes at their last match Tuesday, against Ecuadoran club Barcelona for the Copa Libertadores, after at least seven players tested positive for the virus.

The Brazilian club nevertheless won the match 2-1.

But they faced a flurry of criticism when pictures were posted online showing players socializing onboard the club plane without face masks, even as more of them tested positive for the virus.

Posted in: SOCCER

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