The Copa América is not played in Argentina. This has been decided by the South American Football Association Conmebol, thirteen days before the start of the event. The union says that this is the result of the “current circumstances”.
It is likely that the rebound in the number of coronavirus infections in Argentina is the reason for the decision. “It is very difficult for the Copa América to take place in Argentina because of the alarming situation of the epidemic,” said Eduardo Wado de Pedro, the Argentine Interior Minister.
Last weekend, strict lockdown measures were introduced again in Argentina. That decision came after an average of 35 000 infestations were detected seven days in a row and 500 deaths were regrettable. In total, more than 77.000 Argentines have succumbed to the virus.
Colombia withdrew earlier
The tournament between ten South American countries would initially be played in Argentina and Colombia, but due to the political turmoil in Colombia Conmebol decided earlier this month that all matches will be played in Argentina.
The Copa América is scheduled from 13 June to 10 July. It is not clear where the tournament will be played now. “Conmebol looks at offers from other countries that have shown interest in organizing the tournament,” said the union in a brief statement.
Like the European Football Championship, the Copa América would actually be played in 2020, but due to the coronapandemic the tournament was postponed for one year.
For the first time the tournament would be played in two countries. Colombia, Brazil, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela would finish their duels in Colombia. The matches of Argentina, Bolivia, Uruguay, Chile and Paraguay would be played in Argentina.
Asian champion Qatar and Australia were also invited to participate in the tournament, but those two countries withdrew in February due to obligations in the Asian qualifying campaign.
Last chance Messi?
Since the next Copa América will not be scheduled until 2024, this might be the last chance for Lionel Messi to win an international prize with his country. The 33-year-old Messi has been in the South American Championship finals three times, but lost all three of them.
The Colombian star player James Rodríguez is not in any case. Last week, the top scorer of the 2014 World Cup was told to his astonishment that he did not have to apply for the training camp of national coach Reinaldo Rueda. The medical staff of the Colombian selection had determined, on the basis of medical tests, that Evertons player would not be fit enough.
Rodríguez responded with misunderstanding to the message. “I was astonished to read the statement of the technical staff, stating that they do not count on me and wish me a full recovery, even though I have already had a full recovery.”
“ A recovery in which I sacrificed a lot,” he continued. “It is a great disappointment to me that I cannot represent my country; something that means a lot to me.”