Rio Mayor volte-face on fans’ entry to venues

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Brazil Rio de Janeiro allows fans back Image: MJR Group Ltd./Coliseum

On January 13th morning the Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) municipal administration was all poised to allow the return of fans to stadiums. However, after a severe backlash on social media going by the fact that COVID-19 continues to batter Brazil with 92 percent of the City’s intensive care units occupied amid a second coronavirus wave – Rio de Janeiro Mayor Eduardo Paes developed cold feet and quickly backpedaled.

Before the huge backlash on social media, it was announced that an ordinance would open venues with over 8,000 seats – permitting a restricted number of fans according to the City’s stage of the pandemic. In weeks when the pandemic is in the “moderate” phase, venues would be allowed one-fifth of their total attendance, this would fall to one-tenth in weeks of “high” infection rates. However, this announcement did not go down well and caused uproar in social media as Brazil is on coronavirus thin ice.

Moment after the news broke, the newly-inaugurated Mayor Paes did a complete U-turn and tweeted, “The decision […] is technically correct. However, it is obviously nearly impossible to be enforced. The ordinance will be revoked.”

On January 30th, 2021, Rio de Janeiro’s Maracanã Stadium will stage the final of the Copa Libertadores, South America’s leading continental club football fixture. The match will be decided between the São Paulo-based club Palmeiras and the winner of fellow Brazilians Santos and Argentina’s Boca Juniors (Argentine sports club).

Palmeiras is a Brazilian professional football club based in the City of São Paulo, in the district of Perdizes. Palmeiras is one of the most popular clubs with around 18 million supporters and 126,000 affiliated fans, including many Brazilians of Italian ancestry.

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