Brazil government wants all local soccer suspended due to massive floods in the south

Fri, May 10, 2024
Soccer News (AP)

Brazil government wants all local soccer suspended due to massive floods in the south

PORTO ALEGRE, Brazil (AP) - Brazil's government urged the country's soccer officials to suspend all tournaments on Friday because of massive floods in the south.

More heavy rain is expected in Rio Grande do Sul state into the weekend, which could worsen the situation for millions of people and further delay the cleaning of the inundated stadia of top-flight clubs Gremio, Internacional and Juventude.

At least 107 people have died because of the floods and another 134 are missing, authorities say. More than 230,000 are displaced and aware they might not be able to return home for another two weeks.

The Brazilian Football Confederation has yet to respond to sports minister Andre Fufuca asking for a halt to all nation-wide tournaments, for men, women and under-20s. This week, the CBF agreed to suspend for 20 days all soccer activity in the southern state, which borders Uruguay and Argentina. The situation will be reassessed on May 27. South American soccer body CONMEBOL also suspended two club matches in the region.

"There's a desolating situation for players and their family members in a form we cannot measure, both physically and psychologically," Fufuca said. "The entire nation is also involved in the support to players and families, as well as all the population of the region."

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The Beira-Rio and Arena do Gremio stadia in state capital Porto Alegre have been surrounded by floodwaters since last weekend. Their pitches and parts of the stands are submerged. Only jet skis have entered the two venues since last week.

Juventude's Alfredo Jaconi Stadium on the outskirts of Caxias do Sul was less affected, but it was still unreachable by land.

Airports in Porto Alegre and Caxias do Sul are closed, reducing transport options in the state, water supplies are still short, and hotels are full.

This week, the CBF pledged to reschedule 10 matches of the three affected top-flight clubs in the national league and domestic cup.

Local media report Gremio is considering moving to another state so it can continue to prepare for competitions. Its scheduled next to play on May 29 in a Copa Libertadores group stage match against Bolivia's The Strongest.

Internacional and Juventude have yet to announced their plans.

All three clubs had their matches in the fifth round of the Brazilian league last weekend suspended. Internacional is in ninth place, Gremio is 11th, and Juventude 15th.

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