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Players in Brazil told to take three-week holiday

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An aerial view of empty soccer fields in Flamengo neigborhood during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, March 26, 2020. REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes

(Reuters) – Footballers in Brazil were told to take a three-week paid holiday due to the coronavirus pandemic on Thursday, with professional clubs asking them to return on April 20.

All four divisions in Brazil’s national championships are due to start in early May. The state championships that began in January were suspended earlier this month.

Brazil has reported 2,915 cases of the coronavirus, with 77 fatalities.

The National Clubs’ Commission, which represents the teams in the top four divisions, said that with Brazilian football suspended indefinitely the players should take time off between April 1 and 20.

The players would be paid during that period but the commission said future salary reductions were possible if football does not restart soon.

Reporting by Rodrigo Viga Gaier in Rio de Janeiro; Writing by Andrew Downie in London; Editing by Peter Rutherford

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