Brazil suspends league matches for 2 days due to flooding

RIO DE JANEIRO — Brazil's soccer confederation has suspended the next two rounds of its national league due to massive flooding in the south of the country.

Wednesday's move came after a request for a suspension by 15 of the top-flight's 20 clubs.

The state of Rio Grande do Sul remains under water. Porto Alegre's rivals Gremio and Internacional, and rural club Juventude are all in the Brazilian first division.

Authorities say at least 149 people have died from the flooding and another 108 are missing. More than 620,000 people have been displaced.

If conditions allow in southern Brazil, the league will resume in the ninth round on June 1. The seventh and eighth rounds will be rescheduled.

“We cannot forget that sport and society walk hand in hand and cannot be separated at such a difficult time for the Brazilian people,” the country's soccer body said in a statement. He added that the suspension of top-flight matches until May 27 does not apply to other competitions.

Brazil's Sports Minister, André Fufuca, requested the same measure on Friday, extending it to all national tournaments, men's, women's and under 20s. The Brazilian soccer body had already agreed to suspend all soccer activities in the southern state, bordering Uruguay and Argentina, for 20 days.

CONMEBOL, the South American soccer body, also suspended two club matches in the region.

While Internacional's Beira-Rio is no longer flooded, the Arena do Gremio remains under water in the state capital, Porto Alegre. Juventude's Alfredo Jaconi stadium, on the outskirts of the city of Caxias do Sul, was less affected.

The airports in Porto Alegre and Caxias do Sul are closed, water supplies remain scarce and hotels are full.

The three clubs in Rio Grande do Sul saw their matches for the fifth round of the Brazilian league suspended, the same weekend that the floods began. Internacional is in tenth place, Gremio in 12th and Juventude in 15th.

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