Brazil suspends football matches over coronavirus

Neymar (Getty Images)
Neymar (Getty Images)

The Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) said Sunday it is suspending all matches until further notice because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The CBF had initially avoided an all-out suspension, instead ordering Friday that matches be played in empty stadiums in the country's two largest cities, Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.

But as fears over the virus' spread continued to mount, it ultimately followed the lead of the Champions League, Premier League, Bundesliga and a long list of other sporting events worldwide that have suspended their seasons.

"We know and accept the responsibility the football world has in the fight against the spread of COVID-19 in Brazil," CBF president Rogerio Caboclo said in a statement.

"The CBF will remain in permanent contact with the health ministry, joining together to help the country and the sport overcome the challenge posed by the pandemic," it added.

Several key matches were played in empty stadiums this weekend in Brazil, including a Sao Paulo-Santos derby.

The pandemic has led officials to cancel or postpone a slate of top sporting events worldwide, including the top European football leagues, NBA basketball, Formula One racing and the Giro d'Italia.

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