The South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) said on Sunday that Argentina would no longer host the Copa America, throwing the troubled tournament into doubt just 13 days before it was due to kick off. The tournament between 10 South American nations was scheduled to be held in Argentina and Colombia between June 13 and July 10 but Colombia was removed as co-host on May 20.
No official reason was given for the withdrawal but Argentina has been hit hard by another surge of COVID-19 infections, prompting renewed worries over the safety and practicality of hosting such a large tournament. strict lockdown measures imposed last weekend amid a seven-day average of 35,000 cases and 500 deaths. More than 77,000 people have died in the country due to the disease, as the virus continues to spread.
CONMEBOL is analysing offers from other countries that have shown interest in hosting the continental tournament," it said in a short statement. "Updates will be announced soon."
The setback to the Copa America tournament has disappointed fans who were hoping it would take place this year after the pandemic crushed hopes of it occurring in 2020. South American teams are already training for the tournament and two rounds of World Cup qualifiers are starting this week, but with slow vaccine rollouts in the region and rising numbers of infections, football lovers have contented themselves with waiting a while longer.