Brazil legends rebuke Jair Bolsonaro for ‘irresponsible’ Covid-19 policy

Raí and Mauro Silva won the World Cup together in 1994. Now they are standing together to oppose the country’s president

By Tom Sanderson for Yellow & Green Football

The coronavirus outbreak has yet not reached its peak in Brazil, but firebrand president Jair Bolsonaro – who caused outrage last month when he responded to news of increasing death tolls by saying “So what?” – is already attempting to rush the country’s footballers back to the field. “There are a lot of people in football who are favourable to a return because unemployment is knocking on clubs’ doors,” said Bolsonaro. “Footballers, if infected with the virus, have an infinitely small chance of dying. That’s because of their physical state, because they are athletes.”

Bolsonaro has been continually blasé about coronavirus, calling it a “little cold” exaggerated by media “hysteria”. During a failed attempt to get Brazilians to resume everyday life in late April, he told the nation that only old people are at risk. Bolsonaro is 65 years old but does not include himself in that group as he says he has the “history of an athlete”.

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