Rio de Janeiro [Brazil], June 13 (ANI): Venezuela's travelling contingent for the Copa America has had at least 13 positive COVID-19 test results as of Saturday afternoon, forcing the country's football federation to call upon emergency replacements in order to compete on Sunday against Brazil.
The federation has confirmed that they are flying players in from their domestic league, the Venezuelan Primera Division, to face the Selecao in the Copa America opener.
COVID-19 pandemic has for long affected this showpiece event in Southern America. Argentina and Colombia were originally due to co-host the 2021 Copa America, but the latter was then removed on May 20 amid widespread political protests and Argentina withdrew due to a surge in COVID-19 cases. Amid this, CONMEBOL unexpectedly selected Brazil to stage the summer tournament to which Selecao players have shown their strong discomfort.
"An emergency group of replacement players has been called up, and they're ready to join the camp in Brazil," wrote the Venezuelan football federation.
"The board of directors of the Venezuelan soccer federation, headed by its president Jorge Gimenez, stands in solidarity with each of those affected and guarantees all the necessary measures for their speedy recovery."
The official release stated that eight players and three staff members had tested positive, though earlier in the day, CONMEBOL had announced 13 members of the group learned they were infected.
If all things go as planned, then Brazil will clash with Venezuela in the opening match of the Copa America at the Mane Garrincha Stadium on Sunday evening in the capital Brasilia. All matches of this marquee event will be played in four cities, before culminating with the final in Rio de Janeiro on July 10. (ANI)