Copa America left without host less than two weeks before tournament starts as Argentina are stripped over rising COVID-19 cases after Luis Suarez criticism

This summer’s Copa America has been thrown into chaos with the tournament left without a host less than two weeks until it kicks off.

Argentina have been stripped as hosts of the 2021 competition over the rising COVID-19 cases in the country.

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.

And now Argentina has also been axed to put the competition in major doubt.

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

It’s the first time in the tournament’s 105-year history it was due to have joint hosts, but those plans have been ripped up with the South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) seemingly on the search for a new host with just 13 days to go until it was due to begin.

CONMEBOL has explained Argentina have 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.”

Officials from the organisation are set to meet on Monday to decide on the next steps of the competition, which has been delayed from 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

CONMEBOL has said it is currently ‘analysing the offer of other countries’ that showed interest in hosting, with secretary general Gonzalo Belloso saying last week talks had been held with Chile over hosting some matches there.

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, but there are now big doubts over whether the Selecao will be able to defend their title.