Argentina no longer hosting Copa America due to 'present circumstances', Conmebol says

Lionel Messi of Argentina arrives at Julio Humberto Grondona Training Camp on May 26, 2021 in Ezeiza, Argentina. Argentina will participate in the South American Qualifiers and the upcoming Copa America.

This year's Copa America, already delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic, has been thrown into more doubt less than two weeks before kick off after the South American Football Confederation (Conmebol) said on Sunday that Argentina would no longer host the continental championship.

The Copa had already suffered a setback earlier this month when Colombia were removed as co-hosts for the June 13-July 11 tournament. Argentina has now also been struck off due to what Conmebol said was “the present circumstances", a reference no doubt due to the surge in Covid-19 cases in the South American country.

Conmebol said it was "analysing offers from other countries" that have shown an interest in hosting the Copa and that "updates will be announced soon".

It is the latest blow to a tournament that was delayed a year as the virus brought almost all global sport to a grinding halt in 2020.

This year’s Copa America was to be the first co-hosted by two countries, but Colombia was removed on May 20 after huge protests demanding social and economic change took place across the country.

The 15 games scheduled for Colombia would be moved either to Argentina, which was due to host the other 13 matches, or somewhere else, Conmebol said at the time, with Chile reportedly ready to step in to fulfil the fixtures.

Should the tournament by suspended for a second time, or fail to go ahead at all, it would be another kick to Conmebol's already battered reputation.

South America's governing body was forced to move the second leg of the 2018 Copa Libertadores final to Madrid due to fan violence in Buenos Aires while several officials have received bans for corruption.

The 2019 Copa America was held in Brazil, with the hosts crowned winners for the 10th time after beating Peru in the final.

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