Brazil's supreme court rejects bids to block hosting of Copa America

Brazil's Supreme Court on Thursday rejected three injunctions sought to prevent the Copa America tournament being held in the country because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The 10-nation South American event is due to kick off on Sunday at Brasilia's Mane Garrincha stadium despite criticism of its organiser for hastily relocating the tournament from co-hosts Colombia and Argentina.

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Justice Carmen Lucia said in her decision that it does not exempt authorities from adopting public health safety measures needed to prevent transmission of the virus that has killed almost half a million Brazilians.

Last week, the South American Football Confederation unexpectedly relocated the tournament after Colombia was dropped because of civil unrest and Argentina withdrew after a surge in coronavirus infections.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who has played down the severity of the coronavirus and fought against lockdowns, threw his support behind the move.

But public health experts and footballers questioned the wisdom of hosting the tournament with a pandemic raging. The injunction requests were presented by opposition parties and the national metalworking industry labor union.