Home Argentina economy Rio opens 10% of Maracana stadium for Copa America final

Rio opens 10% of Maracana stadium for Copa America final

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Rio de Janeiro officials allow Copa America organizers to invite thousands of COVID-19-tested fans for the Maracana Stadium final between Brazil and Argentina on Saturday.

Rio City Health Secretary Daniel Soranz issued guidelines on Friday allowing crowds of up to 10% in each section of the 78,000-seat stadium. No tickets will be sold for the meeting.

CONMEBOL said on Friday that each team can bring 2,200 guests to the final. Guests must wear masks in the stadium and keep a distance of two meters between them. No food and drink will be allowed.

The Maracana hosted around 60,000 fans in the previous Copa America final in 2019, when Brazil beat Peru 3-1.

In January in Maracana, the delayed 2020 Copa Libertadores final between Palmeiras and Santos drew around 5,000 spectators, but they were all concentrated regardless of social distancing guidelines.

Soranz said in the guidelines that the decision followed a request from CONMEBOL, which said all spectators will need negative coronavirus tests to enter.

“There will be a great distance between people and all the guests will be invited by CONMEBOL,” Rio Mayor Eduardo Paes told a press conference.

Brazil agreed to host the Copa America just two weeks before kick-off after original hosts Colombia and Argentina were dropped for political and health reasons. But Brazilians have generally shown disinterest in the tournament as the country suffers from the pandemic. Known deaths from COVID-19 are 530,000, although recent figures suggest vaccination efforts are having an impact.

Brazilian defender Thiago Silva celebrated the fan allocation in the final, which is expected to attract more attention due to the rivalry between the teams.

“There is another context with 10% of attendance. For those who didn’t have one before, it’s a motivation, an environment that returns to normal, ”said Silva. “We know it’s not ideal, but it has to happen like in Europe, little by little.”

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who is not expected to attend Saturday’s final, criticizes social distancing measures. He insists that the economic impact of the pandemic kills more than the virus.


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