Copa America 2021: Brazil chosen as new venue after Argentina drops out due to COVID-19 restrictions

Copa America has been shifted to Brazil
Copa America has been shifted to Brazil

The South American Football Federation, CONMEBOL, has announced that Brazil has been chosen as the new venue for the Copa America after Argentina dropped out due to COVID-19 restrictions.

On Sunday, the fate of the historic tournament was thrown into doubt just 13 days before kick-off, after CONMEBOL announced that Argentina would not host the Copa America. The tournament was initially scheduled to take place with Argentina and Columbia acting as joint hosts for the first time in the history of the competition.

However, after a series of protests in the country, Columbia was removed as co-host on 20th May, before Argentina walked out too on the back of an increase in COVID-19 cases in the country. CONMEBOL was scheduled to meet on Monday to decide the venue for the Copa America, which is set to start on June 13th and end on July 10th. Brazil have emerged as the new host for the tournament at the end of the meeting.

CONMEBOL also announced that the Copa America start and end dates would remain unchanged, while the new venues will be disclosed soon. The tournament was previously set to be hosted across nine cities in Argentina and Columbia. Amid the uncertainties after the removal of both co-hosts, Chile and the United States were also among the countries under consideration, while there was also the possibility of the tournament being delayed for a few months. However, those rumors have been put to rest with the selection of Brazil as the new host.

The 47th edition of the tournament was supposed to run from June 12th to July 12th, 2020 but had to be rescheduled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Copa America was not the only global sporting event to be affected, and just like Euro 2020 and the Olympics, the historical tournament has been pushed back a year now.

Copa America will have only ten participants

Brazil won the Copa America 2019
Brazil won the Copa America 2019

Copa America will see only ten CONMEBOL nations take part this year, with guest countries Australia and Qatar, who were scheduled to appear in the tournament last year, withdrawing themselves. The teams have been divided into two groups, with the top four teams from each group set to progress to the quarter-finals.

The change of venue could work in favor of defending champions Brazil, who beat Peru at the Estadio do Maracana in Rio de Janeiro to lift the Copa America 2019. With the tournament shifting to home soil once again, Argentina’s loss could be the Selecao’s gain.

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Edited by Vishal Subramanian
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