Brazil will host the Copa America for the second time in a row after Colombia and Argentina were stripped of their hosting rights for the tournament.
South American football organization CONMEBOL announced the decision on Monday hours after ruling Argentina out amid an increase in COVID-19 cases in the country. Colombia was removed from its role as co-host of the competition on May 20 following protests against President Ivn Duque.
CONMEBOL said on Twitter that the tournament will take place between June 13 and July 10. Brazil are the reigning champions, having won the competition in 2019 as host.
“The host cities and the matches will be confirmed by CONMEBOL in a few hours. The oldest international tournament in the world will make the whole continent applaud!”, Said the South American body.
“CONMEBOL thanks President Jair Bolsonaro and his team, as well as the Brazilian Football Confederation for opening this country’s doors to the safest sporting event in the world today. South America will shine in Brazil with all its stars. “
More than 460,000 people have died from COVID-19 in Brazil, and many analysts expect another wave of the disease to strike the country in late June.
Argentina faces a surge in coronavirus infections, with strict lockdown measures imposed last weekend amid a seven-day average of 35,000 cases and 500 deaths. More than 77,000 people have died in the country from the disease, as the virus continues to spread.
South American teams are already training for the tournament and two World Cup qualifying rounds begin this week.
Like other continental tournaments, the Copa America was originally scheduled for 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic has forced its postponement.
The 2020 version of the Copa America was expected to introduce a new format with five teams based in each of the co-hosts, Colombia and Argentina.
Group A includes Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay, while Group B includes Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela. The top four teams from each group were to advance to the knockout stage, and the final was initially scheduled to be played in Barranquilla, Colombia. It would have been the first Copa America organized by two countries.
Qatar, the hosts of the 2022 World Cup and Australia, who were due to participate as guests, decided in February to withdraw due to the coronavirus pandemic.