SHOWS: PORTO ALEGRE, BRAZIL (MARCH 15, 2020) (REUTERS PICTURES - ACCESS ALL) (MUTE)
1. PLAYERS LINER UP ON PITCH IN STADIUM WITH NO FANS
2. EMPTY SEATS
3. PLAYERS LINED UP
4. GREMIO PLAYERS POSING FOR TEAM PHOTOGRAPH IN MASKS
5. GREMIO PLAYER IN MASK
6. GREMIO PLAYERS IN MASKS
7. GREMIO'S THIAGO NEVES CELEBRATES AFTER SCORING A GOAL IN FRONT OF EMPTY STANDS
8. MATCH IN ACTION
STORY: Players from Brazilian club Gremio took to the field wearing masks on Sunday (March 15) in protest at having to play a soccer match as fears over coronavirus grow in the South American nation.
The players, led by manager Renato Portaluppi, walked out of the tunnel to play Sao Luiz and lined up before the game wearing white masks over their faces.
"This protest by the players to take the field wearing masks makes implicit our support for the championship to be halted," Paulo Luz, Gremio's director of football, said in quotes reported by Brazilian website UOL. "Life must take precedence."
No spectators were allowed into the Gremio arena for the Gaucho state championship match, which Gremio fought back to win 3-2 after trailing 2-1 at halftime.
The protest comes as players and clubs across South America are starting to complain at decisions by footballing authorities to order games to be played, but behind closed doors.
Flamengo coach Jorge Jesus appealed for football to be halted, saying players needed to be protected because "they are not super human".
In Argentina, River Plate refused to play their Superliga cup tie against Atletico Tucuman on Saturday. The Buenos Aires club closed their stadium, leaving match officials and an advance team from Atletico outside the ground.
(Production: Andy Ragg)