Argentina CANCELED as Copa America only hosts the opening match for TWO WEEKS amid a rise in Covid-19 infections, with organizers now looking for a replacement who has already stripped Colombia due to ongoing political protests
- Argentina was abolished from hosting Copa America, casting doubt on the tournament
- As the Covid-19 infection rate rose, the country was gutted with scrambling organizers
- Co-host Colombia has already been impeached due to ongoing political protests
The Copa America has no host nation just 13 days before the tournament’s first game, after Argentina was axed as organizers following a rise in the Covid-19 infection rate.
The tournament, featuring 10 South American nations, was to be held in Argentina and Colombia between June 13 and July 10, the first time in its 105-year history with joint hosts.
However, Colombia was removed as co-host on May 20 following a wave of protests demanding social and economic change across the country and Argentina has now been followed because of what CONMEBOL said were the ‘current conditions’.
The Copa America is without a host country two weeks before the start of the tournament
CONMEBOL did not disclose the nature of the circumstances that led to the decision, but Argentina is currently experiencing a spate of COVID-19 cases.
“CONMEBOL is analyzing offers from other countries that have expressed interest in hosting the continental tournament,” he said in a brief statement. “Updates will be announced soon.”
Officials from the organization will meet on Monday to decide the next steps for the tournament, which has been postponed from 2020 due to the pandemic.
Sunday’s stunning decision was announced shortly before 11 p.m. in Argentina at the end of a weekend when opposition to the tournament grew both inside and outside the government.
Lionel Messi’s Argentina stripped as host country amid surge in Covid-19 infections
Co-host Colombia had already been gutted amid the country’s ongoing political troubles
Argentina saw COVID-19 cases grow rapidly in May, prompting the government to impose a strict new lockdown.
Thursday saw a record number of new cases in one day and the total death toll had risen to 76,693 by the weekend, according to data from the World Health Organization.
Even some players who had returned to South America to prepare for the tournament expressed doubts, with Uruguay’s Luis Suarez telling reporters on Friday: ‘We must prioritize human health’.
Gonzalo Belloso, secretary general of CONMEBOL, said last week that the organization had spoken with Chilean officials with the intention of perhaps hosting some matches there.
Organizers are now rushing to find a host whose first game will start in just 13 days
The organizers are hesitant to cancel the tournament due to its financial importance. The last Copa America, held in Brazil in 2019, raised $118 million and was the second largest annual revenue source after the Copa Libertadores, the equivalent of Europe’s Champions League.
This year, each participating country must receive a minimum of $ 4 million, with the winner receiving an additional $ 10 million, CONMEBOL said.
CONMEBOL’s reputation has suffered in recent years, with the organization forced to move the second leg of the 2018 Copa Libertadores final to Madrid due to fan violence in Buenos Aires.