The future of the event is still uncertain, as the Supreme Court ruled on two requests to block the ten-country football tournament.
Brazil’s national football team has agreed to play in the next Copa America despite concerns about the late decision to do so organize the continental tournament in their country of origin.
The tournament, postponed last year due to the coronavirus pandemic, was scheduled to be hosted jointly by Colombia and Argentina.
Colombia was withdrawn last month amid a wave of protests against President Ivan Duque, while Argentina was ruled out due to an increase in COVID-19 cases in the country.
Brazil has reported more than 17 million cases of coronavirus. More than 476,000 people have died from the virus in the country, the death toll is only second in the United States.
Experts have warned that it is facing a new wave that could be exacerbated by a major international sports tournament.
On Wednesday, the Brazilian players used social media to post a message saying they are “dissatisfied” with the governing body of South American football, CONMEBOL, which decided to move the tournament to Brazil.
They said they did not want to turn the organization of the Copa America into a political debate.
“We are against organizing the Copa America, but we will never say no to the Brazilian team,” the players said in a joint statement.
“We are a cohesive group, but with different ideas. For many reasons, humanitarian or professional, we are not satisfied with CONMEBOL’s leadership of the Copa America, regardless of whether it was hosted late in Chile or Brazil.
“All the recent facts make us believe it was an inappropriate process.”
On Tuesday, the country’s Supreme Court said so would rule Thursday in two applications to block the tournament in ten countries, which is scheduled to open on Sunday and last until July 10.
Chief Justice Luiz Fux said that, given the “exceptional nature of the case,” he had decided that the 11-member full court would take up the issue in an extraordinary virtual session.
Players did not address the pandemic directly in their text.
Over the past week, local media reported that many Brazilian players were not necessarily concerned about COVID, but felt they had to express their criticism of Brazilian football confederation president Rogerio Caboclo for deciding to move the tournament without consulting them.
Caboclo was suspended from his office on Sunday after a sexual harassment case in which he denies any offense.
The tournament has become a matter of division and political burden in the country. Far-right President Jair Bolsonaro, who regularly challenges the advice of experts to contain the pandemic, gave his blessing to welcome it.
But epidemiologists have expressed alarm, as have critics of Bolsonaro and some coaches and players from participating countries.
Brazil and Venezuela are scheduled to start the Copa America at the Mane Garrincha Stadium on Sunday evening in the capital Brasilia.