• Botafogo, Fluminense defy order to play amid Brazil coronavirus crisis
    16:02 | 17/06/2020

    Two of Brazil’s top clubs, Botafogo and Fluminense, say they will defy an order to resume competitive play this week as the country’s daily coronavirus death toll hovers around 1,000.

    Botafogo signed Japan international Keisuke Honda in March

    The Rio de Janeiro state football federation proposed the state championship, one of several tournaments that take place before the national leagues begin, restart on June 18 pending state government approval.

    Botafogo president Nelson Mufarrej called the ruling “disconnected from reality”, and both clubs said they planned to take legal action on health and safety grounds.

    “Unfortunately, the majority of clubs understand that this is the time to play games again, in spite of the chaotic scenes were living through right now,” Mufarrej said in a statement. “We’re against it.”

    Rio’s Maracana stadium was lit blue on its 70th birthday on Tuesday in honour of health workers

    Botafogo later said they would begin training for a possible restart in July.

    Director Carlos Montenegro told Radio Transamerica the earliest they would agree to play their two outstanding games was on July 1 and 4.

    Sports web site Globoesporte.com quoted the club as saying five players had tested positive for COVID-19 and they would train separately from the rest of the squad.

    A man wearing a Fluminense face mask prepares eggs for sale after street markets were reopened in Rio de Janeiro

    City rival Fluminense’s chairman Mario Bittencourt said his players, inactive since action was halted in mid-March, were not ready for a competitive return.

    The club have fixtures scheduled on June 22 and June 24.

    “The dates set for our games are unacceptable from the point of view of the health of our players and we won’t be taking the field, and we will look to take action in the sporting court to do what is right,” Bittencourt said.

    Brazil’s documented deaths from the pandemic stand at just below 44,000 and that toll has been rising by around 1,000 per day for the past week.

    Source – Sky Sports

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