Football

Boca Juniors reveal positive Covid-19 tests for 18 players

Argentinian football club Boca Juniors have announced that 18 of their players have tested positive for Covid-19, just two weeks before restarting their Copa Libertadores campaign.

On Monday (Aug 31), the South American giants suspended training for 72 hours after detecting what it said was an “outbreak” of Covid-19 at the club’s training centre outside Buenos Aires.

New tests carried out on Wednesday confirmed 18 players had tested positive, but the club declined to identify them.

In a statement, it described eight of the cases as asymptomatic and the other 10 as mild.

Boca are due to play Paraguay’s Libertad in Asuncion when South America’s Copa Libertadores resumes on Sept 17.

Argentina President Alberto Fernandez cast doubt over the fixture in an interview with TN Television.

“It is very difficult to play in this context. Look at what is happening at Boca. Football is a contact sport,” Fernandez said.

Boca’s Buenos Aires rivals River Plate have to visit Sao Paulo in the same competition.

“We have to look very carefully at the issue. It is not so simple, it is a pandemic. We are going to play in Brazil, which is in a very complicated situation. The epicentre of the pandemic is Latin America,” said Fernandez.

Argentina is one of the worst-hit countries from the coronavirus pandemic in South America, with more than 400,000 infections and more than 9,000 deaths.

Boca were staying at the Ezeiza Sports Centre, observing a special set of protocols as part of a so-called “health bubble” with no contact with the outside world.

“All of them will continue under strict sanitary isolation rules as indicated by the protocols,” the club said.

The players will be tested again “prior to their reintegration to training,” it said. – AFP

Football