A crowd of around 7,000 guests watched Saturday’s Copa América final between Brazil and Argentina at Rio de Janeiro’s Maracanã.

The final, which finished 1-0 to Argentina, was the first match of the tournament to take place with fans in the stands after COVID-19 guidelines forced games to be held behind closed doors.

It was announced on Friday that the South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) would invite a small number of guests to the Maracanã, which has a capacity of 78,000. Fans were required to show a negative COVID-19 test upon entry.

No tickets were sold for the match, with attendance restricted to those invited by CONMEBOL. Each team was granted permission to invite 2,200 guests and the overall attendance was around 7,000.

Despite the strict guidelines on attendance, CONMEBOL said that a number of guests took doctored COVID-19 tests to the stadium. The governing body said that a “considerable amount” of fraudulent PCR tests were brought by guests, who were denied entry to the stadium.

Fans were required to wear face masks during Saturday’s match, which saw Argentina end its 28-year trophy drought thanks to Angel di Maria’s first-half goal.

This year’s Copa América had initially been due to take place in Argentina and Colombia. CONMEBOL stripped Colombia of co-hosting rights due to COVID-19 and civil unrest in the country, before announcing that Argentina would not host due to a surge of COVID-19 cases.

CONMEBOL opted to relocate the tournament to Brazil but the move raised eyebrows due to the ongoing COVID-19 situation in the country. Like UEFA’s Euro 2020, the Copa América was postponed to this year from 2020 due to the pandemic.

Photo by Valentin Rodriguez on Unsplash