Copa America 2021: After Colombia, Argentina removed as host
The 2021 edition of Copa America is without a host nation less than two weeks before it kicks off. Notably, the South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL), on Sunday, revealed that Argentina will no longer host Copa America 2021. The tournament, featuring 10 South American nations, was due to take place in Argentina and Colombia from June 13 to July 10. Here is more.
What led to this decision?
The CONMEBOL, on May 20, removed Colombia as the co-host, considering the wave of protests demanding social and economic change across the country. Thereafter, the governing body striped Argentina of hosting duties. Although it did not disclose the nature of the circumstances that led to this decision, the reason is believed to be the surge of COVID-19 cases in the nation.
Argentina was under lockdown until Sunday
The Argentine government had imposed a strict lockdown earlier this month amid a resurgence of COVID-19 cases in the country. The death toll crossed the 77,000-mark on Saturday, while over 29,000 new cases were reported.
Players have expressed their concerns
A number of players, who had returned to South America to prepare, have expressed concerns. Speaking to the reporters on Friday, Uruguay's Luis Suarez said, "We have to give priority to the health of human beings." Last week, Gonzalo Belloso, CONMEBOL's secretary-general, said the organization had spoken to Chilean officials with an idea of hosting some matches there.
The organizers are keen on conducting the tournament
The organizers have refrained from calling-off this year's Copa America due to its financial importance. The last edition (2019), held in Brazil, fetched a revenue of $118 million. Notably, Brazil won the tournament that year by beating Peru 3-1 in the final. This year, each nation is set to receive a minimum of $4 million, with the winner receiving an additional $10 million.