Rio de Janeiro (AFP) – The two clubs who most strongly opposed the resumption of the Rio football championship, Fluminense and Botafogo, will be allowed to sit the competition out, mayor Marcelo Crivella has announced.
In a video sent out on Saturday by one of his staff, Crivella said: “Basically, Fluminense and Botafogo’s matches are suspended, and we ask for everyone’s understanding”.
The Campeonato Carioca, the football tournament in the state of Rio de Janeiro, became the first South American competition to return after a coronavirus shutdown with two matches on Friday.
Flamengo, the Copa Libertadores holders and reigning Brazilian league champions, beat Bangu 3-0. Portuguesa and Boavista drew 0-0.
While Bangu was, in theory, the home team, the match was played at Flamengo’s home stadium, the Maracana, site of one of Rio de Janeiro’s coronavirus field hospitals.
The restart, the first in Brazil’s state leagues, was made possible by Crivella relaxing lockdown rules in the city.
Supporters of both clubs, as well as fans of Fluminense, which also plays at the Maracana, and Botafogo were among those protesting outside the stadium before the match, saying the authorities were putting lives at risk.
Fluminense and Botafogo, two of Rio’s big four, were opposed to playing again and went to court to request a suspension of the league at least until July. The two clubs, who had not yet returned to training, were due to play their first game next Monday, and another match three days later.
Earlier on Saturday, the Rio de Janeiro State Football Federation had said that if the clubs chose not to play their match, they would be considered as lost 3-0.
Crivella said in his statement that the public decree on the resumption of football would be adjusted to acknowledge that the two clubs would not be playing.
With nearly 48,000 people killed by the virus so far, Brazil has the second-highest death toll in the world, after the United States, and the number of cases continues rising steeply.
Rio de Janeiro is the second-most affected Brazilian state, just behind Sao Paulo, with 95,537 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 8,824 deaths.
200+ Channels With Sports & News
- Starting price: $33/mo. for fubo Latino Package
- Watch Premier League, World Cup, Euro 2024 & more
- Includes NBC, USA, FOX, ESPN, CBSSN & more
Live & On Demand TV Streaming
- Price: $69.99/mo. for Entertainment package
- Watch World Cup, Euro 2024 & MLS
- Includes ESPN, ESPN2, FS1 + local channels
Many Sports & ESPN Originals
- Price: $6.99/mo. (or get ESPN+, Hulu & Disney+ for $13.99/mo.)
- Features Bundesliga, LaLiga, Championship, & more
- Also includes daily ESPN FC news & highlights show
2,000+ soccer games per year
- Price: $4.99/mo
- Features Champions League, Serie A, Europa League & NWSL
- Includes CBS, Star Trek & CBS Sports HQ
175 Premier League Games & PL TV
- Starting price: $4.99/mo. for Peacock Premium
- Watch 175 exclusive EPL games per season
- Includes Premier League TV channel plus movies, TV shows & more
- Are World Cup tickets available for Qatar 2022?
- Minamino leaves Liverpool for Ligue 1 club Monaco
- Netherlands looks to snap World Cup dud at Qatar 2022
- Lukaku expected in Milan ‘this evening’ ahead of Inter return: CEO
- French minister apologises for Champions League chaos
- Where to find Corinthians vs. Boca Juniors on US TV
- Where to find USWNT vs. Colombia on US TV
- LAFC confirms 12-month Bale deal with options through 2024
- Barcelona unveils 2022/23 away kit to honor Olympics anniversary
- Favre new Nice coach as Galtier in PSG talks