Brazil to host Copa America after Argentina stripped of tournament over rising COVID-19 cases following Luis Suarez criticism

This summer’s Copa America will now be hosted in Brazil after the original hosts were removed amid rising COVID-19 cases.

Argentina were stripped of the 2021 competition over the rising COVID-19 cases in the country, which threw the tournament in doubt with just 13 days to go.

The delayed 2021 Copa America has been thrown into fresh doubt

Argentina were initially set to co-host the Copa America with Colombia, but they were removed as tournament hosts on May 20 following a wave of protests demanding social and economic change in the country.

But South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) announced that a host had been found with more details to be released in the coming hours.

Their tweet read: “The CONMEBOL @America Cup 2021 will be played in Brazil! Tournament start and end dates are confirmed. The venues and the fixture will be informed by CONMEBOL in the next few hours. The oldest national team tournament in the world will thrill the entire continent!”

The Copa America, which features ten South American nations battling to become champions, had been scheduled to start on June 13 and end on July 10.

It was the first time in the tournament’s 105-year history it was due to have joint hosts, but those plans had to be ripped up.

CONMEBOL explained Argentina had been stripped as hosts due to ‘present circumstances’, with the country currently experiencing a surge in coronavirus cases which triggered a lockdown earlier this month.

Neither of the 2021 Copa America’s original hosts will actually hold the tournament this summer, with both Colombia and now Argentina stripped

“CONMEBOL is analysing offers from other countries that have shown interest in hosting the continental tournament,” read a brief statement from the governing body.

“Updates will be announced soon.”

While pressure from the public has seen plans change with just days to go until the tournament is due to start, there has also been opposition from players, too.

Suarez is one of the highest-profile players to speak out about playing the Copa America this summer
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Chelsea centre-back Thiago Silva celebrates winning the Copa America with Brazil the current champions
AFP – Getty

A large number of stars have already returned to South American in preparation for the campaign, but Uruguay’s LaLiga title winning striker Luis Suarez is among those to have spoken out about holding the Copa America in Argentina during their COVID-19 lockdown, saying on Friday: “We have to give priority to the health of human beings”.

Brazil are defending champions, having won the tournament in 2019 and will now defend their crown on home soil.