The announcement on Sunday evening casts doubt on a tournament that has faced major hurdles since the pandemic began in March last year.

Published: May 31, 2021 9:49 AM |

Last updated: May 31, 2021 9:49 am

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Couples tango during a demonstration demanding they be allowed to practice in the open air in Buenos Aires amid ongoing restrictions due to the growing number of new coronavirus cases. (Photo | AP)

SAO PAOLO: Copa America is without a host country just two weeks before kick-off after South American football association CONMEBOL banned Argentina due to an increase in COVID-19 cases in the country.

The announcement Sunday evening casts doubt on a tournament that has faced major hurdles since the pandemic began last March.

CONMEBOL said on Twitter, and it was later confirmed by an official that it was “analyzing other nations’ offerings, who showed interest in hosting the continental tournament “without naming it.

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 originally Planned for 2020 but the COVID-19 pandemic forced its postponement.

However, the difficulties increased as the virus continued to hit the region hard and the vaccine adoption slow stayed.

Argentina is facing an increase in coronavirus infections. Strict lockdown measures were imposed last weekend, with an average of 35,000 cases and 500 deaths within seven days.

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

Colombia was dropped from co-organizing a tournament on May 20th following a wave of protests against President Iván Duque.

Argentine President Alberto Fernández said last week that following the decision to remove Colombia, his country was ready to do the whole thing To host the tournament.

“Due to the epidemiological alarm situation, it is very difficult to play Copa America in Argentina,” said the country’s interior minister, Wado de Pedro, in an interview with TV C5N.

The original idea of ​​this Copa America was to start a new format with five teams in each of the host countries.

Group A includes Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay; Group B includes Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela.

The top four teams in each group would reach the knockout stage, and the final was originally supposed to take place in Barranquilla, Colombia.

Qatar, the host of the World Cup 2022, and Australia, both of which are to play as guests, decided in February to also withdraw because of the coronavirus pandemic.

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