The Copa America has been switched from Argentina to Brazil, as fears continue over the current coronavirus situation in South America.
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After being delayed by a year due to the pandemic, the tournament was due to kick off on June 13 in Argentina, but South America’s governing body CONMEBOL have announced the tournament will no longer take place there and will instead take place in Brazil.
Argentina is currently in lockdown and all soccer game have been called off, so there was little chance it could took place and it is believed the Argentine government weren’t willing to host it given the current situation.
There was the possibility the tournament could be called off entirely, but it will now take place in Brazil over Chile or Paraguay, who both reportedly offered to host at short-notice.
“The 2021 Copa America will be played in Brazil. Tournament start and end dates are confirmed. The venues and the fixture will be informed by CONMEBOL in the next few hours. The oldest national team tournament in the world will make the whole continent vibrate!
“Brazil will host CONMEBOL 2021. The best soccer in the world will bring joy and passion to millions of South Americans. CONMEBOL thanks the President Jair Bolsonao and his team, as well as the Brazilian Football Confederation for opening the doors of that country to what is today the safest sporting event in the world. South America will shine in Brazil with all its stars!”
USA, others were in running
After Colombia and Argentina were originally scheduled to co-host the tournament, Colombia was stripped of its hosting rights due to ongoing protests against the government.
With Argentina out as hosts too, it was believed that as well as Chile and Paraguay, even the USA had offered to host the tournament.
A recent report from Telemundo’s Diego Montalvan stated that plans to host the entire tournament in the USA were gathering momentum, as Blu Radio in Colombia had the initial story.
Per Motalvan’s report, games would have been played in stadiums and cities hosting the 2021 Gold Cup games as CONCACAF would not want the two tournaments to clash at all.
Is moving Copa America to Brazil the right move?
This feels like the easiest solution for everyone, but maybe not the best.
CONMEBOL teams were already scheduled to play 2022 World Cup qualifiers this month before the Copa America tournament kicked off, so keeping the tournament in South America, or scrapping it altogether, were the only options.
However, COVID-19 cases numbers in Brazil remain extremely high and over 1,800 people per day are dying, on average, according to the latest statistics. New cases are around 70,000 per day.
Whether or not fans will be able to attend remains to be seen, as locations for stadiums will also be confirmed in the coming days.