Copa America without host country two weeks before kickoff

The Copa America tournament is without a host country just two weeks before kickoff, after Argentina was ruled out as a host due to its coronavirus situation.

South American football confederation CONMEBOL announced on Sunday night Argentina could no longer host the tournament, casting doubt on a tournament which has faced major hurdles since the start of the pandemic in March of last year.

CONMEBOL said on Twitter that due to “present circumstances” the tournament would not go ahead in Argentina, adding it was looking at offers from other countries to host.

Copa America is scheduled to be played between June 13 and July 10. South American teams are already training for the tournament and two rounds of World Cup qualifiers are starting this week.

Like other continental tournaments, Copa America was initially scheduled for 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic forced its postponement.

But difficulties mounted as the virus continued to strike the region hard and vaccine rollout remained slow.

Argentina is facing a surge of coronavirus infections, with strict lockdown measures imposed last weekend amid a seven-day average of 35,000 cases and 500 deaths.

More than 77,000 people have died in the country due to the disease, as the virus continues to spread.

Colombia was dropped as a tournament co-host on May 20 amid a wave of protests against President Iván Duque.

Argentinian President Alberto Fernández said last week that his country was ready to host the entire tournament after the decision to remove Colombia. But on Sunday that situation changed.

“It is very hard that Copa America is played in Argentina due to the epidemiologic alert situation,” said Wado de Pedro, the country’s interior minister, in an interview to TV C5N.

It would have been the first Copa America hosted by two countries.

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