Judge blocks Brazilian championship match due to virus risks

SAO PAULO (AP) — A Rio de Janeiro-based judge suspended a Brazilian championship match between Flamengo and Palmeiras due to an allegedly high risk of COVID-19 contagion on Saturday.

The ruling came after a request from the union of Rio de Janeiro’s soccer club workers, which argued 21 Flamengo staffers and players contracted the disease this week.

The judge set a fine of 2 million Brazilian reals ($360,000) if the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) decides to proceed with the match anyway.

The CBF had not made comments about the decision. On Friday, it denied a request from Flamengo to postpone the match.

The CBF website still showed Palmeiras vs Flamengo scheduled for Sunday.

Palmeiras is fourth in the Brazilian championship after 11 matches. Defending champion Flamengo is sixth, one point behind.

Also on Saturday, another top-flight Brazilian club said it was in trouble with the virus. Rio-based Fluminense has at least five players with COVID-19, a figure that could grow before Monday’s match against Curitiba.

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