The Rio de Janeiro Government granted its approval last weekend for the return of professional soccer in the Brazilian state. Governor Wilson Witzel signed the decree that was published in the Official Gazette, paving the way for football’s welcome return.

The measure allows the reopening of a number of economic sectors in Rio including high-performance sports events. The government said that the decision was made after data analysis which, according to the authorities, showed that the effect of the pandemic in the region has slowed down.

“Individual outdoor sports activities are now authorized, including sports at beaches and lagoons, preferably near to people’s residences. High-performance sports activities are also authorized, as long as there is no public and with adequate hygiene protocols,” said the Health Department.

With this approval in place, the Carioca Championship 2020 could return in the coming weeks, as it already has a Safe Play protocol approved by the representatives of the first division teams.

The Rio de Janeiro Football Federation (FERJ) held a meeting this Saturday with all the clubs, and stressed that it will not stop preserving individual and collective health protection measures during the pandemic.

In an official statement, Federation President Rubens Lopes said: “We reinforced the idea of contributing to the fight against the spread of COVID-19, complying with local authorities, and following a rigorous and technical protocol based on science.”

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has been among those voicing support for football’s return, having considered it safe to carry out matches during the pandemic.