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Soccer-Brazil court postpones league game after spate of COVID-19 positives

SAO PAULO, Sept 26 (Reuters) - A Brazilian judge called off Palmeiras and Flamengo’s league match due to be played on Sunday after at least 16 players from the Rio club as well as the team coach tested positive for COVID-19.

Flamengo said it only had nine outfield players and three goalkeepers available for the match, which will pit last year’s champions against home club Palmeiras, the only team in the Serie A to remain unbeaten after 10 games.

The decision, taken by a Rio de Janeiro labour court and reported by Brazilian news sites, followed an appeal by the union of football club employees, who said they and their families would be at risk if the game went ahead.

Both the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) and the country’s sports tribunal had rejected Flamengo’s request to halt the game.

The CBF said clubs had the right to register 40 players and so Flamengo should have enough players available. It has not yet responded to the court decision.

Brazil has recorded the second-highest number of coronavirus deaths after the United States. More than 140,000 Brazilians have died from the virus.

Football restarted in the country in June with Flamengo kicking off the Rio de Janeiro state championship. (Reporting by Andrew Downie; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

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