The latest round of games in the Rio de Janeiro state soccer championship, the first of Brazil’s regional leagues to restart, was postponed yet again on Tuesday, after the country’s sporting court agreed that teams needed more time to prepare for action.
The decision to push the restart date for some clubs back until Sunday, June 28 came after Botafogo and Fluminense, who both say it is premature to play football, took the case to court to try to postpone their restart.
The league began last week but neither of the two Rio sides have played yet, with the city’s mayor issuing a decree last week giving them until Thursday, June 25 to prepare for their first game back.
The court decision moves that date again to Sunday.
The two teams are against returning, both because their players have not had enough time to train and also because the curve has not yet flattened in Brazil and many players are worried about the spread of the new coronavirus.
Another 1,374 people were reported to have died from COVID-19 in Brazil on Tuesday, taking the overall death toll to 52,645, the highest anywhere bar the United States.
Fluminense said they would play on Sunday against Volta Redonda, but under protest.
“Fluminense Football Club will adhere to the decision,” it said in a statement. “Having said that, it must be clear that resuming football right now is a mistake.”
Botafogo said it would not appeal the decision but did not say whether it would play Sunday’s rescheduled game against Cabofriense.
The Rio de Janeiro state championship is one of the most important regional leagues in Brazil.
Most states have state championships that run in the first few months of the year, as a warm up to the national league, which normally begins in May.