By Andrew Downie

(Reuters) – South American players should be given the opportunity to opt out of the Copa America this month, the World Leagues Forum (WLF) said in an open letter to FIFA and the South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) on Saturday.

The WLF, an organization representing more than 40 professional leagues and their clubs, said the abrupt decision to move Copa America to Brazil after Argentina withdrew due to a surge in COVID-19 cases “directly affects the leagues, their members ”. Clubs and their players. “

“As for the WLF, given this sudden change of location and circumstances, we believe that players should be given the opportunity to withdraw from the competition and that clubs should be able to recall their players, especially if there is a travel restriction.” Quarantine on their return, “says the letter viewed by Reuters.

It comes the day after Brazil captain Casemiro announced that the squad would make a statement on Tuesday as to whether or not they would like to take part in the Copa America.

Brazilian media reports said the players do not want to take part in a hastily arranged tournament set to begin June 13th. More people have died from COVID-19 in Brazil than any other country outside of the United States.

Zurich-based WLF recognized the legal, organizational and financial pressure on CONMEBOL to host a tournament that raised $ 118 million when it was last held in 2019.

But it also means that the opinions of the players must be taken into account.

“As a general comment, we recognize the complexity of the current situation of CONMEBOL,” said the letter to CONMEBOL’s Secretary General, Jose Astigarraga, and FIFA Deputy Secretary General Mattias Grafstrom.

“The decision to move the Copa America to Brazil, a country with a critical health situation, can only raise serious concerns, with a 10-day announcement that we will organize an event of this magnitude and implement the corresponding strict hygiene protocols.

“From the perspective of the leagues and their member clubs, players were sacked as part of a competition in Argentina and not in Brazil.

“… Our clubs are understandably concerned and concerned not only with the health of their players… but also with the travel restrictions and quarantine obligations that depend on the country the player is returning from.”

CONMEBOL did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

(Reporting by Andrew Downie; Editing by Christian Radnedge)