The Brazilian top club has declined to reopen as an epidemic

Two top Brazilian football clubs in Brazil, Botafogo, and Fluminense, have said they will abide by their federal mandate to start a competitive game this week, with the country's daily coronavirus deaths reaching nearly 1,000.

The Rio de Janeiro State Football Federation has announced that the state championships will resume on June 18, one of several statewide tournaments to be held in Brazil before the start of the national championship.

Botafogo President Nelson Mufarez called the ruling "dismissal from reality" and said the two clubs were planning legal action based on health and safety to avoid playing again.

"Unfortunately, despite the chaotic scenes, many clubs understand that it is time we play again," Mufaraj said in a statement. "We're against it."

Brazil's epidemic is less than 44,000 in any country in the world except the United States, and that number has been growing by nearly 1,000 per day over the past week.

City rival Fluency President Mario Bittencourt said his players had been inactive since the action stopped in mid-March and did not want to compete again.

"The epidemic will continue," Bittencourt said. "The dates set for our game (the 22nd and 24th) are unacceptable from the standpoint of our players' health and we are hitting the ground, and we will take action on the sports court to determine what is right."

Botafogo and Fluminense were asked to play in the first round of re-scheduled games. All the top teams in the state, including Flamengo and Vasco de Gama, are due to play the game between June 18 and 22.

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