Brazil federation postpones league matches due to floods

Brazil's football federation (CBF) on Tuesday announced the postponement of certain national league matches for the next 20 days because of serious flooding.

The state of Rio Grande do Sulhas been devastated by floods since last week and the three clubs based there, Internacional, Grêmio and Juventude, had urged the CBF to postpone matches.

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"The CBF announces that all matches involving teams from Rio Grande do Sul in national competitions, as home or away, are postponed until May 27, 2024," the CBF said in a news release.

Authorities have said that at least 83 people have been killed over the last seven days in the region and another 111 are reported missing.

The stadiums of Internacional and Grêmio in the state capital Porto Alegre have been inundated and severely damaged by the water.

On Tuesday, Neymar encouraged his social media followers to help in any way they can, saying: "this post is to encourage people to help even more. I would like to thank my aircraft pilots and everyone involved. I'm here from afar praying for everything to return to normal."

"The absolute priority at this moment is to support thousands of people who have been hit," Internacional said in a statement. "We ask for understanding, solidarity, empathy and support at such a delicate an extraordinary moment."

All three clubs had their weekend matches in the fifth round of the Brazilian league suspended. Internacional are in ninth position with seven points, three behind leader Athletico Paranaense.

Grêmio are in 11th position with six points and Juventude have five competition points.

Damage from the rains has forced more than 80,000 people from their homes. Approximately 15,000 have taken refuge in schools, gymnasiums and other temporary shelters.

Brazil President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva visited Rio Grande do Sul for a second time on Sunday, accompanied by Defense Minister José Múcio, Finance Minister Fernando Haddad and Environment Minister Marina Silva, among others.

The leftist leader and his team surveyed the flooded streets of Porto Alegre from a helicopter.

During Sunday mass at the Vatican, Pope Francis said he was praying for the state's population.