Columbia removed as co-hosts for 2021 Copa America over protest concerns

CONMEBOL has not yet decided upon the venue of the 15 matches yet, but Chile and Paraguay have reportedly expressed interest.

Copa America 2021 (Image: Twitter)

The South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) has announced that this year’s Copa America matches that were supposed to be hosted by Columbia would be relocated. The reason for the decision is the mass protests that have recently gripped the country. The protests are due to the increased taxes and healthcare reforms proposed by the government to supposedly provide COVID-19 relief. The country had requested rescheduling of the tournament to November but CONMEBOL have denied, citing the international calendar and tournament logistics. However, the South American football body said that they appreciated the enthusiasm and commitment of Columbian President Ivan Duque.

“CONMEBOL appreciates the enthusiasm and commitment of the President of the Republic of Colombia, Mr. Ivan Duque and his collaborators, as well as the President of the Colombian Soccer Federation, Ramon Jesurun, and his team,” it said in a statement.

“It is certain that in the future new projects will emerge together for the growth of Colombian and South American soccer. CONMEBOL ensures the realization of the CONMEBOL Copa America 2021 and will report in the coming days the relocation of the matches that were to be played in Colombia.”

The tournament is all set to held from June 13 to July 10, almost simultaneously with the Euro Cup. The Copa America had been postponed by a year due to the coronavirus pandemic. It was supposed to have happened in 2020 much like the Euros.

BIG MATCHES

Columbia was set to be co-hosts for the competition along with Argentina. A total of 15 matches had been scheduled in the country. These include all Group B (Colombia, Brazil, Ecuador, Venezuela, and Peru) matches, two quarter-finals, one semi-final, the third-place playoff, and the final. The final was supposed to be held at the Estadio Metropolitano in Barranquilla.

CONMEBOL has not yet decided upon the venue of the 15 matches yet, but it has been reported that Chile and Paraguay have expressed their interest to replace Columbia as one of the co-hosts. Australia and Qatar were supposed to play as guest nations in the tournament but have withdrawn due to the pandemic.




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