The tournament, featuring 10 South American nations, was scheduled to take place in Argentina and Colombia from June 13 to July 10, the first time in 105 years of history with joint hosts.
However, Colombia was removed from its role as co-host on May 20 after a wave of protests calling for social and economic change across the country, and Argentina has now followed due to what CONMEBOL called ” current circumstances ”.
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CONMEBOL did not disclose the nature of the circumstances that led to the ruling, but Argentina is currently experiencing an increase in COVID-19 cases.
“CONMEBOL is analyzing the offers from other countries which have expressed their interest in organizing the continental tournament,” he said in a brief statement. “Updates will be announced soon. “
Organizing officials will meet on Monday to decide on the next steps for the tournament, which has been postponed from 2020 due to the pandemic.
Sunday’s astonishing decision was announced shortly before 11 p.m. in Argentina at the end of a weekend where opposition to the tournament grew both inside and outside the government.
Argentina saw COVID-19 cases increase rapidly in May, prompting the government to impose a new strict lockdown.
Thursday saw a record number of new cases in one day, and the total death toll reached 76,693 by the weekend, according to data from the World Health Organization.
Even some players who had returned to South America to prepare for the tournament expressed doubts, with Uruguayan Luis Suarez telling reporters on Friday: “We must put human health first.”
Gonzalo Belloso, general secretary of CONMEBOL, said last week that the organization had spoken to Chilean officials with a view to possibly hosting matches there.
Organizers are reluctant to cancel the tournament due to its financial importance. The last Copa America, which was held in Brazil in 2019, brought in $ 118 million and was the second largest source of annual income after the Copa Libertadores, the equivalent of the European Champions League.
This year, each participating nation must receive a minimum of $ 4 million, with the winner receiving an additional $ 10 million, CONMEBOL said.
CONMEBOL’s reputation has been damaged in recent years, as the organization was forced to move the second leg of the 2018 Copa Libertadores final to Madrid due to fan violence in Buenos Aires.