Brazil to host 2021 Copa America after Argentina ruled out

Postponed South American football tournament scheduled to be played between June 13 and July 10.

New hosts Brazil have reported more than 460,000 COVID-related deaths, the second highest in the world [Sergio Moraes/Reuters]

Brazil will host the 2021 Copa America after Argentina was ruled out amid an increase in COVID-19 cases in the country.

Argentina made the surprise announcement on Sunday night and South American football confederation CONMEBOL said it was weighing “the offer of other nations who showed interest in hosting the continental tournament”.

On Monday, CONMEBOL confirmed Brazil, the reigning champions, will take on hosting duties.

Translation: The CONMEBOL Copa America 2021 will be played in Brazil! Tournament start and end dates are confirmed. The venues and the fixtures will be informed by CONMEBOL in the next few hours. The oldest national team tournament in the world will make the whole continent vibrate!

Copa America is scheduled to be played between June 13 and July 10 this year after being postponed last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The tournament, featuring 10 South American nations as well as Qatar and Australia as guest countries this year, was due to be held in Argentina and Colombia, the first time in its 105-year history with joint hosts.

Colombia was dropped as a tournament co-host on May 20 amid a wave of protests against President Ivan Duque.

Argentina is facing a surge of coronavirus infections, with strict lockdown measures imposed last weekend amid a seven-day average of 35,000 cases and 500 deaths.

More than 77,000 people have died in the country due to the disease, as the virus continues to spread.

New hosts Brazil have reported more than 460,000 COVID-related deaths, the second-highest in the world.

The country continues to see the spread of the new infection amid a slow vaccination campaign – about 21 percent of Brazilians have received one vaccine shot.

People playing football during a protest demanding the cancellation of the 2021 Copa America tournament in Colombia outside El Campin Stadium in Bogota, Colombia [File: Nathalia Angarita/Reuters]

Organisers are reluctant to call off the tournament because of its financial importance.

The 2019 tournament brought in $118m and was the second-biggest annual source of revenue after the Copa Libertadores, the equivalent of Europe’s Champions League.

This year, each competing nation is to receive a minimum of $4m, with the winner receiving an additional $10m, CONMEBOL said.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies