Copa America final guests bring fraudulent COVID tests

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — CONMEBOL said guests at the Copa America final on Saturday brought false COVID-19 tests to Maracana Stadium.

The South American governing body said in a statement it detected “a considerable amount of fraudulent PCR tests” brought by accredited guests. It added those people will not enter the stadium.

CONMEBOL did not say how many false tests were found.

“All guests will have to present a negative test from a laboratory to be able to attend,” it said. “There will be no exception. It is recommended that the printed test is available at all times so it can be verified and avoid setbacks.”

Rio de Janeiro city hall decided on Friday to allow 10% of the 78,000-seat stadium’s capacity at the final, with no ticket sales. CONMEBOL would have to issue accreditations to the guests and fulfill multiple recommendations.

CONMEBOL allowed Brazil’s and Argentina’s soccer bodies to invite up to 2,200 guests each. Many of those were gathering outside the ticket offices at the Maracana for their accreditations and invitations with no regard to social distancing and hours before kick off.

Guests have to wear face masks in the stadium and keep a distance of two meters among each other. No food and drinks will be allowed.

The Maracana hosted about 60,000 fans in the previous Copa America final in 2019, when Brazil beat Peru 3-1.

The Argentine Football Association said 2,100 tickets were delivered to nationals living in Brazil, including footballers, coaches and staffers of Brazilian clubs.

Brazil is one of the countries hardest hit by COVID-19. It so far counts more than 531,000 knowns deaths, second only to the United States, though the pandemic has waned in the nation this month.

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