With less than two weeks before the kick-off, the South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) has confirmed that Brazil will now host the Copa America 2021 for the second consecutive time after Argentina withdrew from hosting the tournament following the surge in COVID-19 cases in the country. The decision came only weeks after its co-host Colombia was stripped-off of its games due to unrest.
“CONMEBOL informs that, in view of the present circumstances , it decided to suspend the organisation of the Copa America in Argentina,” CONMEBOL tweeted. “CONMEBOL analyzes the offer from other countries that have shown interest in hosting the continental tournament. News in this regard will be announced shortly. Updates will be announced soon.” Follow us for live soccer and football fixture.
For the first time in its 105-year history, the tournament, featuring 10 South American nations, had been due to be co-hosted by two nations – Argentina and Colombia – between June 13 and July 10. Meanwhile, new host Brazil is one of the countries in the world worst affected by the coronavirus outbreak, with the second-highest death toll of over 460,000 so far and more than 16.5 million cases.
“The Brazilian government has shown agility and decisive thinking at a crucial moment for South American football,” CONMEBOL president Alejandro Dominguez said in a statement. “Brazil is in a time of stability, it has proven infrastructure and recent experience in hosting a tournament of this magnitude.” Brazil hosted the Copa America in 2019 and the World Cup in 2014.
News reports in Brazil said CBF will be asked to suspend the league for the duration of the Copa. Argentina saw a spike in COVID-19 cases in May, with a record one-day number of new cases and the overall death toll had hit 76,693 by the weekend that prompted the government to mandate a strict new lockdown to its citizens.
The 2020 version of Copa America was to introduce a new format with five teams based in each of the co-hosts, Colombia and Argentina divided into two groups: Group A and Group B. The four best teams in each group were to advance to the knockout stage, and the final was originally set to be played in Colombia’s Barranquilla.
The opening match between Argentina and Chile was supposed to be held in the Monumental stadium in Buenos Aires on June 13. However, due to the recent announcement, the new schedule is yet to be detailed. CONMEBOL is yet to confirm where the matches will be moved. The CONMEBOL’s Copa America is the equivalent of Europe’s European Championships that was delayed last year as well.
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