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Copa America: Colombia removed as Co-Host amid ongoing protests

CONMEBOL (The South American Football Confederation, the governing body of football in South America) confirmed that Colombia will no longer act as co-host for the 2021 Copa America.

The nation was scheduled to co-host the competition alongside Argentina, including the final on July 10 which was to be played in Barranquilla’s Estadio Metropolitano. 

Colombia is currently in its fourth week of violent anti-government protests and growing safety concerns, along with increased worries over the spread of COVID-19, has forced CONMEBOL to act after a last-ditch effort from Colombia to postpone the Copa until November failed.

The Colombian cities of Cali, Medellin and the capital Bogota were shortlisted to host matches, including games in the knockout phase, while Barranquilla was originally slated to host the final. Colombian government requested that the tournament be rescheduled for November or December.

But the governing body rejected that request in a statement released, with the reallocation of games that were due to be staged in Colombia set to be announced.

STATEMENT BY CONMEBOL

“With regards to the Colombian government’s formal request to reschedule the CONMEBOL Copa America for November, CONMEBOL can reveal the following,” the governing body explained in a statement published on its official website.

“Due to reasons related to the international competition calendar and tournament logistics, it will be impossible to move the 2021 Copa America to November. 

“CONMEBOL is grateful for the enthusiasm and commitment shown by the President of the Republic of Colombia, Ivan Duque and his collaborators, as well as by the president of the Colombian Football Federation, Ramon Jesurun, and his team. We are sure that in the future new projects together will emerge for the growth of Colombian and South American football. 

“CONMEBOL can ensure the playing of the 2021 CONMEBOL Copa America and will reveal in the coming days the relocation of the games that were due to be played in Colombia.”

Since 1983 this is the first time that Copa America will be held in two nations, Argentina and Colombia. The tournament was originally scheduled to take place from 12 June to 12 July 2020 as the 2020 Copa América. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the tournament had been postponed for a year, along with UEFA Euro 2020 from 2020 to 2021.

Alos, UK’s local public-service broadcaster, BBC has decided to telecast the whole Copa America tournament in the summer.

The first match is going to be played between Argentina and Chile on June 13 at the Estadio Monumental in Buenos Aires. All ten CONMEBOL national teams will participate in the competition and are divided into two geographical zones for the group stage.

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