Jun 12, 2021 - Sports

12 Venezuela players, staff contract COVID-19 before Copa America opener

Nilton Santos Stadium in Rio de Janeiro on June 8.

Nilton Santos Stadium in Rio de Janeiro on June 8. Photo: Buda Mendes/Getty Images

Twelve members of Venezuela's national football team, including five players, tested positive for COVID-19 before the team's Sunday opener against Brazil in Brasilia, AP reports.

Why it matters: The South American Football Confederation has not said whether the opening match at Mané Garrincha Stadium will proceed as scheduled or if it will be delayed.

What they're saying: The secretary of state for Brasilia said in a statement that the members of Venezuela's delegation are asymptomatic but isolated in a hotel and are awaiting a second round of tests to ensure that no false positives have occurred, according to The Athletic.

The big picture: If the match does continue, Venezuela can call up five replacements for the positive players, though the team risks being severely undermanned at the start of the tournament.

  • A day before Venezuela arrived in Brazil, two of its players tested positive for the virus and stayed behind, according to AP.
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