Colombia ruled out as hosts for 2021 Copa America due to unrest

The 2021 Copa America will no longer feature games in co-host Colombia after CONMEBOL decided on Thursday to move games away from the country after a wave of civil unrest.

“CONMEBOL guarantees the realization of the 2021 Copa America and in the coming days will inform on where the games originally scheduled to be held in Colombia will be played,” CONMEBOL said in a statement.

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The 2021 tournament was due to be held jointly by Colombia and Argentina, with the latter also facing hosting difficulties due to a resurgence of COVID-19 cases.

Joint-hosts Colombia asked to postpone the Copa America tournament until spectators can be present at stadiums, sports minister Ernesto Lucena said on Thursday, before CONMEBOL issued their statement that the tournament will not take place there.

CONMEBOL said it was impossible to postpone the tournament to November and assured it will inform “on the next days about the relocation of the matches which should be played in Colombia.”

The tournament, due to kick off on June 13, was set to be held in two countries for the first time in its 105-year history, but now Colombia will not be involved.

Fifteen games were slated for Colombia — including the final in Barranquilla on July 10 — and 13 games are scheduled for Argentina.

Argentina earlier this week offered to host the whole tournament amid weeks of anti-government protests in Colombia.

Argentina has recently hit a record number of daily cases and deaths from COVID-19. The South American country has had more than 3.4 million cases and more than 72,000 deaths from the virus.

Tear gas fired outside some Colombian stadiums during recent matches has led to discomfort for players. Some games have already been transferred out of Colombia to Paraguay and Ecuador.

Information from Reuters and the Associated Press was used in this story.

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