Mastercard removes struggling Copa America logo

SAO PAULO: Mastercard said on Wednesday it had decided not to “activate” its Copa America sponsorship in Brazil, removing its logo from an already boiling tournament over fears of Covid-19 and a possible court ban .

“After careful analysis, we have decided not to activate our Copa America sponsorship in Brazil,” the credit card giant said in a statement.

The decision means that Mastercard will not place its logo inside stadiums or on promotional material in Brazil.

However, he will respect his contract as a tournament sponsor, the value of which has not been disclosed.

A spokesperson for the company said AFP it was the first time Mastercard had made such a decision since it began sponsoring the South American soccer championships in 1992.

The organizers are fighting against all odds of a successful edition of the Copa America, the oldest ongoing international football tournament in the world.

After delaying it for 12 months due to the pandemic, South American football confederation CONMEBOL had to find an emergency host country when original co-hosts Argentina and Colombia, failed due to a wave of Covid-19 in the former and violent protests in the latter.

As time is running out until this Sunday’s opener, far-right president Jair Bolsonaro gave Brazil his blessing last week to host.

However, the move is extremely controversial: Brazil is also reeling from Covid-19, with a death toll of more than 475,000, just behind the United States.

Experts say the country is currently facing a new wave of coronavirus cases and that hosting a sporting event in 10 countries could add fuel to the fire.

Brazil’s Supreme Court is due to rule Thursday on two requests to block the championships, which will run until July 10 in four host cities.

Filed by an opposition party and the National Metalworkers Union, the cases claim the tournament poses a Covid-19 threat and “would violate fundamental rights to life and health.” – AFP

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