Top clubs urge Brazil’s soccer federation to suspend league matches because of flooding

SAO PAULO (AP) — Three top-tier clubs on Monday urged Brazil’s soccer federation to suspend their national league matches for the next 20 days because of serious flooding.

Internacional, Gremio and Juventude are based in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, which has been devastated by floods since last week.

Authorities say at least 83 people have been killed over the last seven days in the region and another 111 are reported missing.

The stadiums of Internacional and Gremio in the state capital Porto Alegre have been inundated and severely damaged by the water.

“The absolute priority at this moment is to support thousands of people who have been hit,” Internacional said in a statement. “We ask for understanding, solidarity, empathy and support at such a delicate an extraordinary moment.”

All three clubs had their weekend matches in the fifth round of the Brazilian league suspended. Internacional is in 9th position with seven points, three behind leader Athletico Paranaense.

Gremio is in 11th position with six points and Juventude has five competition points.

Brazil’s soccer confederation said it would consider the request.

Damage from the rains has forced more than 80,000 people from their homes. Approximately 15,000 have taken refuge in schools, gymnasiums and other temporary shelters.

Brazil’s President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva visited Rio Grande do Sul for a second time on Sunday, accompanied by Defense Minister José Múcio, Finance Minister Fernando Haddad and Environment Minister Marina Silva, among others. The leftist leader and his team surveyed the flooded streets of Porto Alegre from a helicopter.

During Sunday mass at the Vatican, Pope Francis said he was praying for the state’s population.


AP soccer:

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