As the tension looms in the streets of Colombia, CONMEBOL and Colombian President Ivan Duque insist that the Copa America 2021 will go ahead in Colombia as planned. The pandemic-delayed Copa America 2021, the equivalent of Europe’s UEFA European Championship, is scheduled to co-host by Colombia and Argentina, with the tournament slated to begin on June 13.
Earlier, CONMEBOL has announced that for the first time, the tournament will be held in two countries, with Argentina and Colombia co-host the 47th edition of the tournament. The 10 nations are equally divided into Group A and Group B, also known as the North and South zones. Group A will be playing their group stage matches in Argentina with Group B playing theirs in Colombia.
Last week, thousands of demonstrators rallied in the capital Bogota, the eighth straight day of protests despite clashes over the already withdrawn tax reform that have left at least 24 dead and hundreds wounded. Unions and student groups demonstrated their anger the government’s policies on health, education and inequality, as well as the violent repression by security forces.
Copa Libertadores and Sudamericana clubs, including River Plate, Lanús and Argentinos Juniors, rivals of Santa Fe, La Equidad and Atlético Nacional already decided to postpone their recent matches to avoid traveling to the country. According to various reports, Colombia could be stripped of its matches after a week of violent protests, with the matches could be shifted to Paraguay.
“The domestic leagues have restarted in Argentina, Colombia, Ecuador, Brazil and Peru, without problems,” an anonymous government official told a local news outlet. “We already have experience with the coronavirus protocols. The sports minister [Ernesto Lucena] told me the Copa America is going to be held and it will take place in both Argentina and Colombia.”
Meanwhile, the South American football’s governing body chief Alejandro Domínguez ruled out the rumors and assured that change of any venue for the 47th edition of the tournament is not in the cards. Despite the criticisms in his administration, Duque vowed that the Copa America would continue to be jointly hosted by Colombia.
“The Copa will happen… in the two countries. I think it will be an important message at this time,” the Colombian leader said. “It would be absurd if the Copa America doesn’t go ahead when a European Championship is being held, especially when the epidemiological figures in several [European] countries are similar or even worse in some places than those seen in Latin America.”
Exciting games and big wins as you visit 12BET where exclusive promotions await for you.
Visit 12BET login and join us to claim exclusive benefits and more