The mayor of Rio de Janeiro, Eduardo Paes has stated that a potential increase in COVID-19 cases in the city, could force them to cancel their allocation of the upcoming Copa America games.
Brazil was unexpectedly named as the host nation on Monday after problems with joint hosts Colombia and Argentina. Colombia was removed amid ongoing civil unrest and Argentina withdrew due to a surge in COVID-19 cases.
Paes for his part admitted that he was not consulted about the last-minute decision to host eight Copa games in Rio - while also confirming that he would shirk at the decision to use his powers to call off the games in the city if needed.
“I don’t even know when the Copa America games are to be played in Rio and if the situation worsens before then and the decree changes, then it changes and that's that. We didn’t ask for the Copa America and if you ask my opinion I think a championship like this is a bit inopportune," he said as quoted by Reuters.
Matches in the Brazilian league, the Rio de Janeiro state championship, and continental competitions have taken place in Rio throughout the pandemic, though the state has seen more than 51,000 deaths from COVID-19 with almost 90,000 recorded cases.