Coronavirus: Gremio players wear facemasks onto pitch to protest playing during outbreak

The coronavirus outbreak has brought the sporting world to a complete standstill. 

Across Europe, almost every major event and fixture has been cancelled or postponed. 

Premier League, La Liga, Serie A, Bundesliga and Ligue 1 football has all been halted, as has Champions League and Europa League action. 

The Formula 1 season has been delayed with the first four races postponed – that’s set to start in May now instead. 

Elsewhere the NBA, MLB and PGA have all stopped and coronavirus has now wiped out most of the world’s major sporting events. 

But in Brazil, it seems things are carrying on as normal for now. Well, some of the football is, at least. 

On Sunday night, Gremio played Sao Luiz in the Gaucho state championship match, as their league is yet to be postponed. 

The controversial decision to carry on led to players wearing facemasks onto the pitch in protest. Check out some images below: 

Gremio players, led out by their manager Renato Portaluppi, walked out of the tunnel and lined up before the fixture in their masks, before taking them off at kickoff.

“This protest by the players makes implicit our support for the championship to be halted – life must take precedence,” Paulo Luz, Gremio’s director of football said, per BBC Sport.

Despite the Campeonato Gaucho continuing play, no spectators were allowed into the Gremio Arena to watch the hosts win 3-2 on Sunday. 

At full-time, Portaluppi questioned the decision to carry on behind closed doors. 

“The whole world has stopped – shouldn’t Brazilian football stop as well? That’s our message and I hope they listen. We hope that good sense will prevail.”

Gremio’s protest comes as players and clubs across Brazil are starting to complain about footballing authorities ordering play to continue behind closed doors. 

The Brazilian Football Confederation has now suspended all national competitions including the Copa Libertadores but has said it’s up to local federations to decide whether to stop the state championships. 

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