Brazil named Copa America host after Argentina and Colombia dropped

Brazil named Copa America host after Argentina and Colombia dropped

The upcoming Copa America tournament will be played in Brazil, the South American football confederation CONMEBOL said on Monday after original hosts Argentina and Colombia were dropped.

CONMEBOL tweeted that the dates are confirmed and venues to be named later in the day.

“The oldest national team tournament in the world will thrill the entire continent!” the tweet said.

“CONMEBOL thanks the President Jair Bolsonaro and his team, as well as the Brazilian Football Confederation CBF for opening the doors of that country to what is today the safest sporting event in the world.”

Brazil also hosted the last edition of the oldest continental tournament in 2019.

The Copa was originally due to be played in Argentina and Colombia between June 13 and July 10.

But Colombia was stripped of the hosting rights earlier in May over political unrest and Argentina was suspended as host Sunday over rising coronavirus infections.

“In view of the current circumstances CONMEBOL informs that it has decided to suspend Argentina’s hosting of the Copa America. The CONMEBOL is analysing the offer of other countries which have shown interest in hosting the tournament,” the confederation said Sunday.

Just before the surprise announcement, Interior Minister Wado de Pedro had said that, due the health situation in the country, it would be “very hard for the Copa America to be played.”

On Thursday, Argentina registered a record-high number of new coronavirus infections, 41,080, despite the country having lockdown measures in place.

The southern hemisphere’s autumn saw a second wave hit Argentina hard.

So far some 3.7 million people have been infected and more than 77,000 people have died, according to official figures.

The Copa was initially scheduled for 2020, but like other continental tournaments pushed back owing to the pandemic.

The invited teams of Australia and Qatar withdrew earlier in the year due to the virus, with the Copa to consist of only the 10 South American teams.

Brazil has been one of the countries hit hardest by the pandemic and Bolsonaro has been critizised for his handling of the crisis. Almost half a million people have died there of the coronavirus, with only the United States recording more deaths.