Boca Juniors have been granted permission to field players in a Copa Libertadores tie in Paraguay who tested positive for Covid-19 just four days before the scheduled kick-off.
The Argentine club were hit by a coronavirus outbreak at their supposedly bio-secure training camp in Buenos Aires with 22 first-team players testing positive.
The first round of tests were conducted 10 days ago but the latest round of swab tests, carried out on Sunday, found over 50 per cent of those originally infected remain positive.
Boca Juniors have been given permission to travel to Paraguay for a Copa Libertadores tie this Thursday despite a recent Covid-19 outbreak that saw 22 players test positive
Over half those originally infected are still positive but the game in Paraguay will go ahead
And yet, the South American confederation Conmebol and the Paraguayan health authorities have given the green light for Boca to travel to the country for the group stage game against Libertad on Thursday night.
It means a number of Boca players are likely to still be carrying the virus when they take to the field.
Libertad have reacted furiously to the decision, expressing ‘indignation and repudiation’ in an official statement, saying it puts all of Paraguay at risk.
Conmebol explained that the players who are still positive for Covid do not have a viral load that risks infecting opposition players or anyone else they will come into contact with in Asuncion during the game.
Carlos Tevez is captain of Boca Juniors with the 36-year-old recently extending his contract
The affected players are not showing symptoms and have gone through a period of self-isolation and find themselves able to play.
Libertad have nonetheless appealed the decision with a statement expressing their ‘concern and indignation over a decision that highlights the privileged treatment towards Boca Juniors, as well as the risk to which the entire Paraguayan population is exposed.’
This year’s Libertadores was suspended after the second round of group stage fixtures, played in March, because of the Covid pandemic.
It has only been able to restart this week with the rescheduled final of the competition pushed back to January.
Boca have won one and drawn one of their opening two Group H fixtures while Libertad have won both of theirs, against Independiente Medellin and Caracas.
The concern in Paraguay is well-founded since the country has recorded 28,367 cases of the virus with 539 deaths. Meanwhile, Argentina has registered 565,446 cases and 11,667 deaths.