Copa America: Brazil in “negotiations” to host tournament – just 13 days before start date

“The Copa América CONMEBOL 2021 will be played in Brazil!” CONMEBOL said on Twitter. “The tournament start and end dates have been confirmed. Venues and fixtures will be announced by CONMEBOL in the next few hours. The oldest national team tournament in the world will shake a whole continent!”

The tournament was initially to be hosted by Argentina. CONMEBOL did not say why the tournament was withdrawn from Argentina, but the country is currently suffering from an increase in coronavirus cases, with a seven-day average of more than 30,000 new cases daily, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

However, the virus is also rampant in Brazil, raising questions in some circles about its suitability as a host.

“We have been very criticized by some governors and other people for announcing this. There is still nothing confirmed. I want to stress this very clearly. We are in the middle of the process, but we will not back down. in front of the request, if, it is possible to meet “, declared to the press Luiz Eduardo Ramos, chief of staff of the Brazilian presidency, Monday evening.

He did not explain an earlier official statement from CONMEBOL which directly thanked President Jair Bolsonaro for “opening the doors” to Brazil.

“… CONMEBOL thanks President Jair Bolsonaro and his team, as well as the Brazilian Football Confederation CBF for opening the doors of this country to what is today the safest sporting event in the world” , had tweeted the confederation.

Ramos said it would be up to the Brazilian Football Confederation to define the venues and negotiate with host states and municipalities. Nonetheless, he said, the federal government will try to accommodate the tournament, with some public health precautions.

“It is important to stress that this event, if it takes place, will not have an audience. At the moment there are ten teams, with two groups. 65 people for each delegation. All vaccinated,” said Ramos .

If CONMEBOL’s schedule holds, the Copa America is expected to start in mid-June. The 2020 edition of the tournament has been postponed for a year due to the coronavirus pandemic and was due to be held in Argentina and Colombia between June 13 and July 10, the first time in the history of the tournament it was to be held. be organized jointly.

Colombia was stripped of its responsibilities as co-organizer on May 20 following widespread protests across the country that were sparked by a controversial tax reform introduced by President Iván Duque.

Along with the usual 10 South American nations, this year’s tournament was also due to feature Qatar and Australia as guests, but both countries withdrew in February due to timing issues caused by the pandemic.

Now with less than two weeks left to host an international tournament, Chile, Ecuador and the United States have also been touted as possible locations to step in and host the Copa América.

Report contributed by Marcia Reverdosa in Sao Paulo.

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