Copa America withdrawn from Argentina as COVID crisis puts tournament in jeopardy
Next Copa America will not be played in Argentina due to increase in COVID-19 cases, CONMEBOL announced Sunday evening, putting the whole tournament in danger of not moving forward.
Previously, Colombia was deemed incapable of accommodating competition amid political turmoil.
Weeks into the tournament, reported last resort options include Chile or even the United States, with CONMEBOL confirming that several countries have come forward as potential hosts.
What was said?
“CONMEBOL is analyzing offers from other countries that have expressed interest in hosting the continental tournament,” the organization said in a statement. “Updates will be announced shortly.”
What is the COVID situation in Argentina?
From the announcement of CONMEBOL, Argentina had the fifth worst COVID epidemic per capita worldwide with 76 daily cases per 100,000 people, or more than 34,000 daily cases in total.
Cases in the country have increased at a rate of 54 percent in the past 14 days.
The country is strictly on lockdown with most non-essential travel and activities, including football, banned, although its participants in the Libertadores and Sudamericana have been allowed (or forced) to play their home games this week due to the insistence of CONMEBOL.
Neighboring countries are also struggling to contain the spread of COVID, with neighboring Uruguay even worse on a per capita basis in terms of recorded daily cases.
Why was Colombia not able to welcome?
Colombia was supposed to co-host with Argentina, but that plan was scrapped amid civil upheaval which provoked protests against President Ivan Duque, as well as violence in the streets.
The first game is scheduled for June 13, leaving officials little time to work out a backup plan without postponing the tournament. They will meet in the coming days to determine if the Copa America can be played, and if so, where it could happen.