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Heightened risks for this year's Copa América

09 June 2021 Arthur Dhont Carlos Caicedo

The Brazilian government has announced that the Copa América will take place between 13 June and 10 July, and has chosen the following cities to host the event: Rio de Janeiro (Maracanã and Nilton Santos stadia); Brasilia (Mané Garrincha stadium); Cuiabá (Arena Pantanal); and Goiânia (Olímpico stadium). The tournament will open at the Mané Garrincha stadium on 13 June with the final played at the Maracanã on 10 July.

The hosting of the tournament is opposed by various organizations including trade unions and football supporter groups and is being held in the context of rising anti-government protests. Travel into and out of host cities by road or air is open but there will be delays because of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)-virus restrictions.

Attendance at the games will be restricted to delegations, players, and media crew (no fans allowed); local COVID-19-virus regulations, including enforced business closures and curfews, will limit the commercial and leisure opportunities to those attending the games. Crime rates are falling but remain high, with violent robbery the principal risk to those visiting host cities, particularly Rio de Janeiro.

Anti-government protests involving thousands are likely to disrupt access to stadia on match days.

The Popular National Football Front, a movement that brings together groups and members of local clubs, has announced coordinated and simultaneous protests against the Copa América in Rio de Janeiro. Hotspots in the centre of Rio are likely to include Avenida Atlântica, in Copacabana, and outside the Brazilian Football Confederation (Confederação Brasileira de Futebol: CBF), in the Barra da Tijuca neighbourhood, western zone of the city. More broadly, trade unions and social movements opposed to President Jair Bolsonaro, which have already held protests involving tens of thousands against the government's handling of the COVID-19-virus outbreak, have voiced opposition to hosting the Copa in Brazil and are likely to organize match-day protests.

In Brasília protests are likely to be concentrated around the Mané Garrincha stadium, the Esplanada dos Ministérios, and the Praça dos Três Poderes, in front of the presidential palace. In Cuiabá, the Arena Pantanal and Praça Alencastro are likely to be protest hotspots. In Goiânia, protests are likely to concentrate around the Governor's Palace on Praça Cívica. The use of motorcades and road marches during these protests is likely to cause much disruption for those attempting to access the stadia or to conduct business near protest hotspots. With no fans allowed, this risk applies mainly to players, sporting delegations, and media crew entering stadia.

Airports and highways are operating normally, with COVID-19-virus regulations affecting international arrivals but no restrictions on interstate travel.

Santos Dumont Domestic Airport and Tom Jobim International Airport in Rio de Janeiro, Brasília International Airport, Marcehal Rondon in Cuiabá, and Santa Genoveva in Goiânia are operating normally with the exception of additional COVID-19-virus regulations, including compulsory mask-wearing, hand sanitizing, and temperature checks, which can delay check-in times. Foreigners who enter Brazil must provide proof of a PCR laboratory test with negative or non-reactive results, carried out up to 72 hours prior to departure. A 14-day quarantine requirement applies to the United Kingdom, South Africa, and India. Once in the country, there are no restrictions on domestic road or air travel.

Commercial and leisure opportunities associated with the games are likely to be limited by local COVID-19-virus regulations.

The attendance of fans is currently prohibited at all five stadia. Commercial and leisure activities are also restricted to various degrees across the four cities. In Rio de Janeiro, nightclubs, concerts, and other ticket-sale events are prohibited. In Cuiabá a curfew is in place between 1am and 5am, and operating times for retail and leisure activities are limited to 6am to 12pm. Indoor venues such as concert halls and nightclubs are closed. In Goiânia a decree bans the sale of alcoholic beverages after 11pm. Commercial activities are limited to 9am to 5pm, bars, restaurants and snack bars from 11am to 11pm, and shopping centres and commercial galleries from 10am to 10pm.

Visitors face a high risk of violent robbery in Rio de Janeiro and an elevated risk in Brasília, Cuiabá, and Goiânia.

Knife and gunpoint robbery is common in Rio de Janeiro, with criminals commonly carrying out robberies in tourist hotspots including Copacabana, Ipanema, Leblon, and Barra de Tijuca. During match days, criminals are also likely to deploy around the Maracanã and Nilton Santos stadia to pick-pocket and carry out violent assaults in secluded areas around the stadia, although an enhanced police presence is likely to lessen these risks. People displaying affluence will be at the highest risk of robbery and those resisting robbery will face the risk of fatal injury.

Armed confrontations between organized crime groups and state security forces occasionally spill outside of favelas located near tourist hotspots, elevating the risk of accidental injury to bystanders during such fighting. In Brasília, the risk of robbery is significantly lower; the city's two hotel districts - Setor Hoteleiro Norte and Setor Hoteleiro Sul, are secluded and relatively isolated from commercial activities; they generally have very low levels of crime. On match days, the area around Mané Garrincha stadium is a hotspot for street crime. In Cuiabá, the neighborhoods of Goiabeiras, Duque de Caxias, Popular, and Quilombo, where the city's bars and restaurants are concentrated, attract pickpockets. In Goiânia hotspots for violent robberies include Bueno, University, Marista, Jardim América, and Jardim Goiás, as well as the areas immediately surrounding the airport.

Posted 09 June 2021 by Carlos Caicedo, Senior Principal Analyst, Latin America Country Risk, S&P Global Market Intelligence


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