Another global sporting event was postponed due to the coronavirus. This time, the Copa America is to be moved to a later date next year just like the Euro 2020.
This move by the officials from Conmebol, the South American confederation that organises the Copa America, mentioned that they delayed their championship tournament in order to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus which has affected several countries already worldwide.
This development came days after the Copa Libertadores was finally suspended with players angry that the games were still being played.
“After a detailed analysis of the situation regarding the world and regional evolution of the coronavirus (COVID19), and with the recommendations made by international organizations in the field of public health to take extreme precautions, Conmebol announces the postponement of the 47th edition of the Conmebol Copa America,” said Conmebol in a statement.
“It has not been easy to make this decision, but we must safeguard at all times the health of our athletes and of all the agents who are part of the great family of South African football.”
“There’s no doubt that the oldest national team tournament in the world will return with renewed strength in 2021. We also thank UEFA and its president Aleksander Ceferin for working together and the coordinated decision to also postpone the 2020 Euros for the betterment of the whole football family,” they added.
The Copa is South America’s main continental tournament featuring various nations and it has been slated to run for month starting from June 12 to July 12. Now, the tournament is rescheduled to be set on June 11 to July 11 next year and the finals will be played in the Estadio Metropolitano in Barranquilla, Colombia.
From 1987-2001, the Copa America was held for every two years. Since 2004, there have been six iterations of the competition.
12 teams are supposed to be taking part of this tournament, which includes other countries like Australia and Qatar as their special invitees. At the same time, two countries in Colombia and Argentina will act as the main hosts to the two main groups of the competition.
Argentina, Australia, Bolivia, Uruguay, Chile, and Paraguay are all part of Group A while Colombia, Brazil, Qatar, Venezuela, Ecuador, and Peru make up Group B.
It can be remembered that the Brazilians won the last edition of the Copa America when they defeated Peru 3-1 in the final, which ended their title drought. They still remain as the heavy favourites to win it all since they have a stacked deck capable of producing multiple Copa America 2020 highlights.
The reggae boys have the likes of Roberto Firmino, Philippe Coutinho, and Richarlison to spearhead their attack while their defence are captained by the likes in Marquinhos, Dani Alves, Thiago Silva, and Allison.
Other nations such as Uruguay and Argentina have fared well in the tournament as they’ve won 15 and 14 titles each. On the other hand, Colombia and Chile are chasing for glory anew since they last won the championship in 2001 and 2016 respectively.
With football and all other sporting events being held to a standstill for the time being due to the coronavirus, it is quite a bummer that we won’t get to see our idols playing any time soon.
Other club-based leagues like the Serie A, La Liga, Bundesliga, and Premier League were also suspended, leaving a lot of things hanging in the balance such as who will be the teams promoted/relegated to how these leagues will determine their champions.
Like them, qualification spots for participating countries are going to be in question since these domestic tournaments get to determine on who gets qualified.
History is now repeating itself, ironically, after a century of its genesis as the Copa America already witnessed these kinds of unfortunate circumstances in its storied legacy.
The Copa carried on during the First World War in 1917 and it oversaw the Spanish Flu outbreak that infected over 500 million people worldwide. At the time, the Copa had to push back for a year and they eventually played in Rio de Janeiro in May of 1919.
Similar to before, a lot of governments have already imposed travel bans and even total lockdowns to their populations’ movements which has changed our societal norms, so hopefully this coronavirus situation will be all over soon and that this won’t be our reality for too long.
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