Copa America 2021 won't take part in Colombia and Argentina, as originally expected. World soccer's oldest national team tournament will take place anyways, as Brazil has been granted the right to host the upcoming edition like it already did in 2019.
The 47th edition of South America's greatest contest had to be halted last year due to the pandemic outbreak, and weeks before its kickoff in 2021 it had to change its location. It will be played for the second straight time in the same country, which has already held several high-profile events in the past decade.
The Covid-19 eruption has forced changes to the tournament but it seems like it will finally begin soon. Even though it came with short notice, Brazil was quickly confirmed as the new host of the competition a few hours after Argentina was officially removed.
Why were Colombia and Argentina removed as Copa America 2021 co-hosts?
Even though it seemed that the competition would be taking place as expected this year, the situation in both countries didn't improve and it became infeasible for them to go on with their co-hosting rights. Colombia was not only going through a delicate sanitary situation weeks before the kickoff but has been under social unrest as well.
The government proposed to postpone the tournament until things improved, but delaying it once again didn't seem like an option for Conmebol. That left Argentina with the possibility of organizing the competition all on its own, but the Covid cases in the country kept on increasing every day and the authorities weren't convinced of going forward with its organization.
As the outlook was uncertain, Conmebol decided to remove Argentina as well and search for other options that guaranteed the tournament. However, Brazil's selection came as a surprise as other destinations seemed more likely to host it.
The US and the other countries which were in consideration
After Colombia's removal, it was believed that Argentina would have the sole responsibility of organizing the tournament. However, when Conmebol announced that country wouldn't host it either, new alternatives were immediately discussed.
The United States looked like a great option to relocate the competition, but the Gold Cup 2021 is looming around and the USMNT is already committed to it. Chile was reported to be the other strong candidate, as its vaccination campaign advanced well.
Despite these two countries seemed favorites to organize the Copa America, other nations also proposed themselves as hosts, according to reports. Paraguay was one of them, and it had chances to be accepted, while Ecuador and Venezuela have reportedly tried it too, although they ran from behind.
The reasons why Copa America 2021 will be played in Brazil
Brazil's selection may have taken many people by surprise. As we've said before, reports had other options as frontrunners to held the competition. However, Brazil has been home to many significant sports events over the last years, meaning it is prepared to organize this kind of competition, and its quick willingness to receive the Copa America were reasons why Conmebol chose them again.
With the kickoff date around the corner, the South American contest needed an organizing country as soon as possible. Brazil has already hosted the 2014 World Cup, 2016 Olympics, and even Copa America 2019. Due to those competitions, it has the necessary stadiums, hotels, and facilities needed for these types of events.