Live Blog

Two top tier Brazilian football teams still have unvaccinated players

football teams unvaccinated players
Palmeiras players get vaccinated for Covid-19. Photo: Cesar Greco/SEP

According to a survey by newspaper O Globo, two of Brazil’s 20 top division football teams still have players who remain completely unvaccinated against Covid-19. The pair in question are modest-sized clubs América Mineiro and Cuiabá, hailing from states which voted heavily in favor of President Jair Bolsonaro in the 2018 election. Mr. Bolsonaro, in turn, claims he will not take the coronavirus vaccine. 

Two other clubs, Fluminense and Athletico Paranaense, did not provide any information on the vaccination status of their squads. 

The Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) has not imposed vaccine mandates on players, despite teams constantly traveling around the country for away matches. América Mineiro told O Globo that it advises players to seek vaccines, but will not force them to do so. Cuiabá claims its only completely unvaccinated player is set to take his first shot in the coming days.

Early in the year, several football teams became coronavirus hotbeds — as players were often lax about preventive measures. 

In order to play in continental matches, however, players must have received at least one coronavirus vaccine shot. Palmeiras and Flamengo will square off in Montevideo on November 27 in the final of the Copa Libertadores — South America’s Champions League — and 100 percent of their squads have taken at least one vaccine dose.

In the U.S., NBA star Kyrie Irving stirred controversy after being indefinitely barred from practicing or playing with the Brooklyn Nets due to his refusal to vaccinate. Vaccine mandates in New York City keep him from attending the team’s facilities.