The Brazilian team visits Barcelona from Ecuador this afternoon. The municipal authorities recommended suspending the match and even announced the disqualification of the field. Conmebol remained firm to the protocol and had the endorsement of the national government.
Three hours before the start of the game, it was not only in discussion whether it was recommended that Flamengo, after the outbreak of coronavirus that he suffered in his squad, play his game against Barcelona in Guayaquil, but the local health authorities had been firm in their decision to suspend the game and publicly announced the disqualification of the Monumental stadium. Round trips. A game in doubt and without a court, One more history of the Copa Libertadores.
The novel had everything: internal pulls between the national and municipal health agencies of Ecuador, decisions resolved in the hotel lobby, the power of Conmebol to enforce the protocol and play despite some medical objections, the intervention of the national government to give the final verdict and even a plane that had to carry reinforcement youth for the Brazilian team and could not reach its destination …
The story begins with the results of the PCR tests that the Flamengo team underwent in the last 48 hours. The balance: seven players, a doctor and a member tested positive for coronavirus and were isolated in the preview of the clash on Tuesday, at 7.15pm in Argentina, against Barcelona in Guayaquil for the fourth date of Group A of the 2020 Copa Libertadores.
Aware of the serious situation, the Municipality of Guayaquil and the local Ministry of Health requested the postponement of the match, while from Conmebol they confirmed early to Clarion that the match “is going to be played”.
Sources of the entity remarked that the Brazilian club had in its possession “the tests with negative results of all those members of the delegation” who would participate in the meeting. In this way, there would be no violation of the protocol presented and that was approved by all the national governments involved.
But the short-circuit was even greater when, four hours before the agreed time for the start of the match, the Emergency Operating Committee (COE) of Guayaquil publicly announced that the Monumental stadium, the scene of the match, was temporarily disabled.
“The Monumental stadium, the Barcelona stadium, is temporarily disabled for sporting events of any kind, whether with or without the public, up to a second order. We are facing a high-risk case, because these players have had close contact, without the use of protective suits, “declared Carlos Salvador, the Municipality’s medical director, and indicated that the opinion was signed by the mayor of Guayaquil, Cynthia Viteri.
At that point the first great controversy arose since the national COE adhered to the Conmebol protocol and allowed to play. A key fact: the document does not stipulate suspensions of parties for positive cases of Covid-19.
Minutes after it was reported that the stadium would not be available for the game, it was the mayor of Guayaquil who came out to rectify the situation and announced through a message on Twitter that “the Monumental stadium is not disabled.” There she also slipped that they would wait for the resolution of the Ministry of Health to confirm whether the game was played or not.
The same mayor had raised doubts with a previous message in which she alerted: “Since it is public knowledge that a group of Flamengo players is positive for COVID, I have arranged to send a municipal team, made up of the Health, Risk and Sports Directorates , to the site where they are hosted, to run a technical report and the actions to follow “.
The differences were stark. On the one hand, in the lobby of the Hilton Hotel where Flamengo was concentrated, the municipal COE officials expressed their recommendation not to play the game and announced, with the alleged endorsement of the mayor, the disqualification of the field. And at the same time, Conmebol moved its chips in higher bodies, ratifying that the established protocol was being complied with and there were no reasons to change the plans.
The story reached the top of the pyramid. The verdict for the ball to roll in time and form came down from the national government of Ecuador. Upon being notified of the situation by the Football Federation, he raised directives to both the national and municipal health agencies so that they did not put up obstacles and the match could be played.
Beyond the controversy, Flamengo experienced his own shock. At the same time that the mayor of Rio de Janeiro, the Bolsonarista pastor Marcelo Crivella confirms that the public will return to the city’s football stadiums on the first weekend of October, the most popular Rio de Janeiro club, suffers from an outbreak of cases of coronavirus.
“In total, the club has seven athletes diagnosed in the delegation,” the team reported through its Twitter account on Monday. And this Tuesday they added that the doctor Márcio Tannure and the member of professional football, Juan Santos, also tested positive.
As the club clarified, all those infected are asymptomatic, they are isolated in the concentration at the Hilton in Guayaquil and assisted by the medical department.
Although the institution did not disseminate the list of players who tested positive in the PCR samples carried out as part of the previous protocol determined by Conmebol to play the games, according to the Brazilian press, the infected footballers are the wingers Filipe Luis, Matheuzinho and Mauricio Isla, midfielder and captain Diego Ribas and the attackers Bruno Henrique, Michael y Vitinho, the last to test positive.