(CNN)– The players and employees of the Brazilian national team published a message on their social media accounts, on Wednesday, criticizing the organization of the Copa America, but stressed that they would continue to participate if the tournament continued.
The tournament, the largest international soccer tournament in South America, is scheduled to start on June 13 in Brazil.
In their message, the players added: “We are a cohesive group, but with different ideas. For different reasons, whether humanitarian or professional, we are not satisfied with the management of the Copa America by the Confederation of American Football, whether it is hosted later in Chile or even in Brazil.” .
“All the latest facts lead us to believe in an insufficient process of achieving it,” the players continued, but the team stressed that it “at no time wanted” to “make this a political discussion”.
They concluded their statement: “We are against organizing the Copa America, but we will not say no to the Brazilian national team.”
According to Brazilian press reports, the players were concerned about possible retaliation by the directors and leaders of the Brazilian Football Confederation, the Latin American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) and leaders in response to the letter.
CONMEBOL, in agreement with the Brazilian federal government backed by President Jair Bolsonaro, announced only last week that Brazil would host the Copa America due to health and political issues related to Argentina and Colombia – the original hosts of the tournament.
The change of venue for the Copa America has sparked criticism within the South American football community and the Brazilian public.
Concerns have been raised about the handling of the coronavirus pandemic in Brazil.
According to the World Health Organization, the country has recorded nearly 17 million confirmed cases and 473,000 deaths. More than 65 million doses of vaccine have been administered.
The Brazilian Football Confederation is also currently facing administrative problems, with its president Rogerio Capoclo being temporarily removed from his post on Sunday after allegations of sexual harassment by an employee of the federation.
Brazilian press reports indicated that players and staff were unhappy with the way Capoclo handled the Copa America issue, adding that his dismissal helped calm the locker room.
Team coach Adenor Tite denied he would resign if Capoclo remained in the job at a news conference early Wednesday, moments after the decision was made.
The 2020 Copa América has been postponed for a year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
On Tuesday, Brazilian Health Minister Marcelo Quiroga defended the government’s decision to host the Copa America, saying: “There is no evidence that (Copa America) increases the level of infection with the Covid-19 virus among athletes.”
Quiroga made the comments while testifying in a Senate investigation into the Brazilian government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
The minister argued that the last edition of the Brazilian National Football Championship that ended in February this year took place without any major problems, claiming that only one case of COVID-19 is linked to the competition.
However, in a March report, the Brazilian Football Confederation said the tournament had seen hundreds of cases among footballers in Brazil.