Brazil players blast CONMEBOL but vow they will play in Copa America

The Selecao have hit out at South America’s main football governing body over their handling of the summer tournament that will be hosted in Brazil

The Brazil squad have criticised CONMEBOL for switching the Copa America location, but have reluctantly accepted the hosting responsibilities that have been thrust upon them.

Argentina and Colombia were originally due to co-host the 2021 Copa America, but the latter was removed on May 20 amid widespread political protests.

CONMEBOL subsequently announced that Argentina would stage the tournament alone before they were hit with a surge of Covid-19 cases, and Brazil were then swiftly named the new hosts.

What’s been said?

Selecao captain Casemiro suggested that the whole squad and their manager Tite were against the decision following their 2-0 World Cup qualifying win against Ecuador last week.

The Brazilian team has now released an official statement confirming as much, but they have also pledged to play on in the face of adversity.

“When a Brazilian is born, a fan is born,” the statement reads. “And for more than 200 million fans we write this letter to express our opinion about the Copa America outcome.

“We are a cohesive group, but with different ideas. For many reasons, humanitarian or professional, we are not satisfied with the conduct shown by CONMEBOL relating to Copa America.

“All recent facts lead us to believe there has been an inadequate process.

“It is important to emphasise that at no time did we want to make this a political discussion. We are aware of the importance of our position – we follow what is published by the media, we are present on social media. We also try to avoid false news bearing our names being circulated without the true facts.

“Finally, we remember that we are workers, soccer professionals. We have a mission to achieve wearing the historic yellow and green jersey of the five-time world champions.

“We are against the organisation of Copa America, but we will never say no to the Brazilian national team.”

Why are Brazil upset by the decision?

Argentina and Colombia both had valid reasons to withdraw as hosts, but Brazil are also facing a precarious situation in the country at the moment.

Brazil have had rising cases and deaths related to Covid-19 over the past week, while mass demonstrations are also taking place to oppose the presidency of Jair Bolsonaro.

A number of the nation’s largest states have insisted they won’t be holding any matches amid the continued safety risk to the public, and it had originally been suggested that the Selecao team would refuse to take to the pitch.

When does the Copa America start?

Brazil’s confirmation that they will be going ahead with the tournament came in the wake of their latest World Cup qualifying victory over Paraguay, with Neymar and Lucas Paqueta grabbing the goals in a 2-0 win.

The Copa America will now kick off on June 13 as planned if there are no more disruptions, with the Selecao set to open the action with a clash against Venezuela.

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