May 15, 2020 / 3:25 AM / 19 days ago

President's football shirt irks leader of Brazilian soccer club

(Reuters) - The head of a progressive football club from Brazil’s impoverished northeast expressed unease on Thursday at seeing his team’s shirt worn by the country’s far-right president on the same day the death toll from the coronavirus hit 10,000.

Jair Bolsonaro wore Bahia’s red, white and blue striped shirt while riding a jet ski on a lake in the capital Brasilia on Saturday.

“Of course, it was bad seeing the Bahia shirt linked to that moment,” club president Guilherme Bellintani told a local radio station.

“But I can’t condemn the president of the republic. Our fans vote for A, B or C. I can’t condemn people specifically. I have to fight for causes and that is what Bahia have done.”

The first division club have won fans around the world with progressive campaigns aimed at fighting sexism and racism and wooing LGBT supporters.

Bolsonaro, who often wears football shirts in public, has consistently downplayed the coronavirus and this week encouraged business to reopen.

Brazil’s coronavirus death toll hit 13,149 on Wednesday, the highest in Latin America.

Reporting by Andrew Downie in London, editing by Ed Osmond

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