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2020 Copa America postponed

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It has been announced that the 2020 Copa America tournament has been postponed as soccer’s governing body in South America have followed UEFA’s lead.

Moments after EURO 2020 was postponed and moved to the summer of 2021, the Copa America tournament will follow suit. The tournament was due to be held in Argentina and Colombia from June 12 to July 12 this summer but the plan is now to play the tournament in the summer of 2021 from June 11 to July 11.

With so many of South America’s top players currently playing in Europe, which is now the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, this decision had to come before players tried to return home to Brazil, Argentina and beyond.

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Medel: Chile players decline friendly over civil unrest

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Chile had already canceled a home friendly with Bolivia this international break, and now the players will not play Tuesday in Peru either due to unrest in their country.’

A nationwide strike and protests against the government, spurred by a rise in metro fares, have Chile on edge.

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La Roja stars Gary Medel and Arturo Vidal both posted lengthy messages on their Instagram accounts, saying that the decision was made “in response to the social moment in our country.”

They urged both protestors and law enforcement to turn away from violence.

From Mega.CL:

“We are soccer players, but above all people and citizens. We know that we represent a complete country and today Chile has other priorities much more important than next Tuesday’s game.”

Chile is ranked No. 17 by FIFA and 22 in Elo Ratings.

VIDEO: River edge past Boca to reach Copa Libertadores final

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Boca Juniors scored a late goal to beat bitter rivals River Plate 1-0 at La Bombonera on Tuesday, but River held on to reach the final of the Copa Libertadores with a 2-1 aggregate win.

Jan Hurtado scored the second-leg winner for Boca in the 80th minute to send the home fans wild, but it wasn’t enough as River somehow held on to reach their second-straight Copa Libertadores final.

Amid fireworks, copious amounts of ticker tape and an incredible atmosphere generated by Boca’s supporters at their home in Buenos Aires, to hold on for the aggregate victory was an amazing display of defensive strength from River Plate.

Boca battered River for large swathes of this game, with the home side squandering plenty of chances. Click play on the video below to watch the highlights as River Plate goalkeeper Franco Armani was a busy man and came up with the goods.

Of course, the Copa Libertadores final between Boca and River last season was abandoned and then moved to Madrid, Spain over fan unrest as Boca Juniors bus was attacked.

River won the final 3-1 last season and they will face either Flamengo or Gremio in the final in Santiago, Chile on Nov. 23. This season will see the change in format to a one-off final to decide the Champions of CONMEBOL.

The Copa Libertadores winners will represent South America in the FIFA Club World Cup in Qatar in December.

Longtime FIFA official Leoz, indicted in US, dies at 90

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ASUNCION, Paraguay (AP) Nicolas Leoz, a long-time South American soccer executive and FIFA official who had been under house arrest in Paraguay fighting extradition to the United States, has died. He was 90.

Leoz’s lawyer, Ricardo Preda, told The Associated Press his client died Wednesday after a cardiac arrest linked to age-related ailments.

Leoz, under house arrest for the last four years, was indicted in 2015 in the U.S. Justice Department’s sweeping investigation of bribery and financial corruption linked to broadcasting and sponsorship rights for soccer competitions, including the Copa Libertadores.

South American soccer body CONMEBOL announced Leoz’s death on Twitter. Leoz had served as president of the Paraguay-based organization from 1986-2013.

One of Leoz’s achievements as CONMEBOL president was to gain diplomatic immunity for its headquarters in Asuncion as protection from prosecution.

Leoz resigned from CONMEBOL and his FIFA executive committee seat in 2013 before the FIFA ethics committee could punish him following long-standing allegations he took kickbacks from World Cup revenues.

Leoz received hundreds of thousands of dollars from Swiss-based marketing agency ISL, which was selling World Cup television rights. ISL’s collapse into bankruptcy in 2001 provoked a financial crisis for FIFA and led to a criminal trial in Switzerland.

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Brazil’s Jesus suspended two months for bad behavior

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sixthSAO PAULO — Striker Gabriel Jesus has been suspended from international matches with Brazil for two months because of bad behavior in the latest Copa America final.

The governing body of South American soccer, CONMEBOL, also announced Wednesday that it fined the 22-year-old Jesus $30,000 for actions it considers insulting and defamatory during Brazil’s 3-1 win over Peru in the July 7 decider.

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Jesus was sent off after a second yellow card at the 70-minute mark in the South American cup final.

He protested the decision with hand gestures suggesting the referee had been paid off and then pushed the video assistant referee feed on the sidelines.

Brazil and Jesus can still appeal the decision.

If the punishment stands, Jesus will miss Brazil’s friendlies against Colombia and Peru in September. He could also be sidelined for another two matches in October.