Copa America 2021: Neymar & Co against Copa in Brazil but agrees to play

Copa America 2021: Neymar, Casemiro and other Brazilian players release joint statemnet, protesting Copa in Brazil but agree to play

Copa America 2021: Brazillian football team players have agreed to play Copa America in Brazil after reports emerged that they will boycott the tournament. Neymar, Casemiro and coach Tite were amongst those who were not happy with Brazil hosting the mega event amid the country’s third wave of COVID-19.

However, with just three days left in the tournament, they have confirmed that they will compete in the tournament. Colombia and Argentina were the original hosts of the tournament but CONMEBOL the former was ruled out due to civil unrest while the latter pulled out of hosting due to surging COVID cases.

In a last-minute switch amind uncertainty over the tournament’s future, CONMEBOL approached Brazil to host the tournament. Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro, a staunch supporter of economic activity overlooking COVID restrictions, readily agreed.

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But Neymar, Casemiro besides coach Tite were unhappy that players were not taken into consideration while taking the hosting rights of the tournament. Many players were reportedly reluctant to take part in the competition amid a public health crisis.

In a statement released on Wednesday, the Brazil players said they were “not happy” with the way the CONMEBOL handled the decision.

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“For different reasons, be they humanitarian or professional, we are not satisfied with the way the Copa America has been handled by CONMEBOL. All the recent facts lead us to believe in an inadequate process in realising the tournament,” Neymar, Casemiro and others said in a joint statement.

They further added that they never considered a boycott and it was not their intention to make it a political issue. “We are against the organisation of the Copa America but we will never say no to playing for Brazil,” they said.

Copa America 2021: The statement came after Brazil beat Paraguay 2-0 in a World Cup qualifier, helping them climb to the top spot to qualify for the World Cup in Qatar 2022.

As for Copa America, host Brazil will lock horns with Venezuela to kick start the Copa America tournament on June 13 while Argentina opens its campaign against Chile on the next day. The finals of the showpiece event will take place at Rio de Janeiro’s Maracana stadium on July 10.