Buenos Aires (AFP)
Argentina were waiting to hear from South American football’s governing body on Thursday to see if CONMEBOL will be able to follow strict coronavirus health protocols during the Copa America.
“We need to know if CONMEBOL is able to comply with the requirement that we are putting in place,” Santiago Cafiero, chief of staff to President Alberto Fernandez, told Radio10.
Argentina submitted its “strict protocol” to CONMEBOL on Wednesday during a meeting between President Fernandez and the president of the football governing body, Alejandro Dominguez.
The South American country is going through its worst time in the 15-month-long pandemic with daily cases at 30,000 and deaths at 500. It is in the midst of a nine-day lockdown.
The country offered to host the entirety of the Copa America after CONMEBOL stripped Colombia of co-hosting rights last week after asking for the tournament to be postponed until the end of the year as it fight against the pandemic and social unrest.
Following this decision, CONMEBOL declared that “the organizational and logistical aspects have been evaluated – with the possible authorization of additional sites – and everything related to health protocols”.
One of Argentina’s demands is a reduction in the size of the delegation of each team.
The 10 member federations of CONMEBOL will take part in the Copa America, which kicks off in Buenos Aires on June 13, with the final on July 10 at a location yet to be determined as it will take place in Colombia.
“I understand that they have to speak to all delegations to see if they can comply with the protocols demanded by Argentina,” Cafiero said.
Shortly before that, the Minister of Health Carla Vizzotti had insisted on the fact that welcoming 1,000 to 1,200 people from all over the continent with strict health protocols would not be “epidemiologically very relevant”.
In recent days, CONMEBOL has inspected the stadiums to see if they could accommodate the 15 matches initially planned for Colombia.
– Messi avide –
Europe-based players such as Argentinian superstar Lionel Messi have already returned home ahead of the World Cup qualifiers just before the start of the Copa.
# photo1Messi is hoping to help Argentina weather a trophy drought that dates back to 1993 when they last won the Copa.
It will be “a special Copa, different because there will be no fans,” he said recently.
But, he added, “I really want to go back. »Independiente Santa Fe
The pandemic has been hit hard in football.
The Argentine League Cup semi-finals, which were due to be played last weekend, have been postponed to May 31, but earlier this week the government made an exception to allow its teams to participate in the matches. of the Copa Libertadores and Sudamericana.
Last week, River Plate was forced to play a Copa Libertadores game against Colombians Independiente Santa Fe with midfielder Enzo Perez in the goal after the virus infected 20 players, including all four goalkeepers.
Despite only 11 fit players, the Buenos Aires giants still won the game 2-1.
Argentina has recorded more than 75,000 deaths from Covid-19 and 3.6 million cases among its 45 million inhabitants.
© 2021 AFP