Rio health officials chide Flamengo for restarting training


(Reuters) - The Rio de Janeiro government criticised Brazilian champions Flamengo for returning to training on Wednesday, with the city's health secretary saying clubs were not yet permitted to restart ball work or physical drills.

Flamengo, who won the league and the Copa Libertadores in 2019, recalled their players on Monday after a two-month break caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The city's health secretary said officials met with the club doctor on Wednesday to reaffirm the regulations.

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"Flamengo were informed that non-essential activities suspended remain suspended until May 25," the health secretary said in a statement.

The statement said the club could evaluate and test players for the coronavirus but that training was not permitted, although it did not say if any action would be taken.

Flamengo refused to comment on the notification.

Brazil's state championships were suspended in mid-March and none have restarted. Only a few top clubs have recalled their players for training and no date has been set for a restart of the season.

Brazil reported another 889 deaths on Wednesday, taking the overall total to 18,860, the highest in South America.

(Writing by Andrew Downie in London; editing by Richard Pullin)

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