Colombia removed as Copa America co-hosts amid protests

Colombia will not co-host next month’s Copa America amid ongoing protests in the country, the South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) has announced.

The decision was made less than a month before the opening match is due to take place as street protests were held against Colombian president Ivan Duque.

The tournament, which is set to played between June 13 and July 10, would have been the first Copa America to be hosted by two countries with Argentina the other scheduled host.

Argentina president Alberto Fernandez has already suggested his country could host the entire tournament if Colombia was unable to co-host.

AP - Argentina president Alberto Fernandez
Argentina president Alberto Fernandez has suggested his country could host the entire tournament

However, Colombian authorities had asked CONMEBOL to postpone the tournament, with Sports Minister Ernesto Lucena requesting the tournament be moved to the end of 2021 because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

CONMEBOL said another postponement was not an option and would provide an update in the coming days on where the matches scheduled for Colombia will be relocated. The original 2020 tournament was postponed to 2021.

Protests in Colombia began in April and police and protestors clashed last week in the cities of Pereira and Barranquilla, the latter of which was due to host the Copa America final.

AP - Anti-government protestors in Colombia
Protestors took to the streets in Bogota earlier this week

A Copa Libertadores match between Colombia’s América de Cali and Brazil’s Atlético Mineiro last week was interrupted several times because of tear gas used to disperse the protesters.

Under original plans for this year’s edition of the Copa America, Buenos Aires would host the opening match, a quarter-final and a semi-final.

The cities of Cordoba, Mendoza and Santiago del Estero were set to host Group A matches.

The 2021 Copa America was expected to feature a new format with five teams based in each of the host countries.

Aerial shot of Colombia Protests (AP)
Anti-government protests have been ongoing in Colombia since April

Group A comprises Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay. Group B includes Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela. The four best teams in each group advance to the knockout stage.

Qatar, the 2022 World Cup hosts, and Australia, both scheduled to play as guests, decided in February to withdraw from the tournament due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Adblock test