Brazil’s squad said they are “against” the Copa America but will not boycott the upcoming South American showpiece.
The Copa America is scheduled to get underway on Sunday, but the tournament has been overshadowed by controversy and uncertainty after CONMEBOL relocated the event to Brazil.
Postponed from 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic, the Copa America had been due to be shared between Colombia and Argentina, though both countries were removed as co-hosts following respective political and COVID-19 issues.
Brazil was awarded hosting rights, despite being one of the country’s worst hit by the coronavirus crisis.
— Neymar Jr (@neymarjr) June 9, 2021
Selecao captain Casemiro suggested the entire team were against hosting the Copa America on home soil, with head coach Tite promising more would be revealed following Tuesday’s World Cup qualifier against Paraguay.
After Neymar and Lucas Paqueta preserved Brazil’s perfect qualifying record with a 2-0 win away from home, the squad stated their intentions in a statement via social media while criticising CONMEBOL.
“For different reasons, be they humanitarian or professional, we are not satisfied with the way the Copa America has been handled by CONMEBOL,” the players said.
“All the recent facts lead us to believe in an inadequate process in realising [the tournament].”
Defending champions Brazil are scheduled to open the Copa America against Venezuela in Brasilia on Sunday.
Tite’s Brazil are in Group B for the Copa America, alongside Colombia, Peru, Ecuador and Venezuela.
“We are workers, professional footballers. We have a mission to take with the historic green and yellow shirt that won the World Cup five times,” the statement continued.
“We are against the organisation of the Copa America but we will never say no to playing for Brazil.”
18 – Tite, Brazil’s coach, has never lost in the South American WC Qualifiers (W16 D2). It’s the longest unbeaten sequence for a coach of any national team in the tournament history. The Brazilian National Team hasn’t conceded in 14 of those matches (W13 D1). Boss. pic.twitter.com/EwEyMaTYt8
— OptaJoao (@OptaJoao) June 9, 2021
Amid the uncertainty, the future of Tite has also been called into question due to the stance of the squad.
But Tite told reporters post-match: “I am not a hypocrite. I am not aloof and I know what is happening. But I know what the priority is. The priority is my work and the dignity of my work.”
Tite was reluctant to discuss the stance of his players regarding the Copa America following his historic outing against Paraguay.
Brazil boss tite has never lost in World Cup qualifying (W16 D2) – the longest unbeaten sequence for a coach of any national team in CONMEBOL history after the Selecao won in Paraguay for the first time since 1985.
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