Brazil has cautioned that it is still in “negotiations” with CONMEBOL, the South American Football Confederation, and the Brazilian Football Confederation, just days after CONMEBOL announced that Brazil would host the Copa América championship in just 13 days.
Argentina was supposed to host the tournament at first. According to data from Johns Hopkins University, Argentina is currently suffering from an increase in coronavirus cases, with a seven-day average of more than 30,000 new cases per day.
“The CONMEBOL 2021 Copa América will be played in Brazil!” CONMEBOL said on Twitter. “The start and end dates of the tournament are confirmed. The venues and fixtures will be announced by CONMEBOL in the coming hours. The oldest national team tournament in the world will make a whole continent shake!”
However, the virus is also widespread in Brazil, prompting some to question its suitability as a host.
“We were very criticized by some governors and other people because we are announcing this. There is still nothing confirmed. I want to point out very clearly. We are in the middle of the process, but we will not shy away from the demand, if, it is possible to meet,” Luiz Eduardo Ramos, chief of staff to the Brazilian presidency, told press early Monday evening.
He did not respond to an earlier official CONMEBOL statement in which President Jair Bolsonaro was thanked directly for “opening the doors” to Brazil.
“…CONMEBOL thanks President Jair Bolsonaro and his team, as well as the Brazilian Football Confederation CBF for opening the doors of that country, to what is today the safest sport event in the world,” the confederation had tweeted.
Ramos stated that defining venues and negotiating with hosting states and municipalities would be the responsibility of the Brazilian Football Confederation. Nonetheless, he stated that the federal government would make every effort to accommodate the tournament while taking certain public health precautions.
“It is important to emphasize that this event, if it takes place, will not have audience. At the moment, there are ten teams, with two groups. 65 people for each delegation. All vaccinated,” Ramos said.
The Copa America should begin in mid-June if CONMEBOL’s schedule holds true. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the 2020 edition of the tournament was postponed a year and was scheduled to take place in both Argentina and Colombia between June 13 and July 10, marking the first time the tournament had been jointly hosted.
Colombia was stripped of its co-hosting duties on May 20 as a result of widespread protests across the country sparked by President Iván Duque’s controversial fiscal reform.
This year’s tournament was set to include Qatar and Australia as invitees in addition to the usual ten South American nations, but both countries pulled out in February due to scheduling conflicts caused by the pandemic.
With less than two weeks to organize an international tournament, Chile, Ecuador, and the United States have all been mentioned as potential hosts of the Copa América.