Columbia removed as co-host of Copa America 2021text_fields
Asuncion: The South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) has rejected the request of Colombian sports minister Ernesto Lucena to postpone this year's Copa America as it was about to co-host the tournament in the coming month with Argentina. The association announced on Thursday that Colombia will no longer co-host the tournament.
The games that were to be played in Colombia in the 13 June - 10 July event will instead be moved to Argentina, CONMEBOL said, stating that it was "impossible" to move the event to November as authorities in Bogota requested.
Colombia had been scheduled to host fixtures in four cities, and the final was earmarked for Barranquilla's Estadio Metropolitano on July 10.
"CONMEBOL guarantees the realization of the 2021 Copa America and in the coming days will inform where the games originally allocated to Colombia will be played," COMEBOL said in a statement,
CONMEBOL said it was impossible to reschedule the competition because of the tight global football calendar.
Argentine President Alberto Fernandez this week offered to stage the entire Copa America if Colombia could no longer be a co-host.
But Argentina is dealing with the worst phase yet of the COVID-19 pandemic - and late Thursday Fernandez announced that Argentina will go into total lockdown for nine days to control the spread of the virus.
Colombia is currently grappling with a prolonged third wave of Covid-19 infections and many cities have strict nightly curfews while large public gatherings remain banned. The health ministry has reported more than three million confirmed cases of the virus and over 83,000 fatalities.
In addition to the pandemic, the Andean country is in the midst of violent anti-government protests that have claimed the lives of at least 42 people since April 28, according to the attorney general's office.
The public body has said it is also investigating the disappearance of 134 people during the demonstrations, which continued on Thursday.
On 13 May a Copa Libertadores South American club tournament game in Barranquilla was suspended five times as clouds of tear gas used to break up demos outside the stadium wafted in and affected the players.
Copa Libertadores matches in Cali and Barranquilla last week were marred by images of players and officials visibly struggling with the effects of tear gas used by police to disperse protesters.
The Copa America tournament, like the European Championship, was due to take place last year but was postponed by 12 months due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Two guest nations, Australia and Qatar, pulled out of the tournament in February due to a clash with World Cup qualifying dates.