South America’s largest soccer tournament, the Copa América, will not take place in Argentina, which is mired in its worst coronavirus surge to date, the South American soccer federation, Conmebol, announced. It is unclear where the tournament will take place, after Conmebol said it would consider offers to move it to other countries that had expressed interest.
Argentines and their government officials had been torn over the wisdom of hosting the championship, in a discussion that mirrors the one in Japan over holding the Tokyo Olympics this summer as that country reels from the pandemic.
Last week, President Alberto Fernández called this Argentina’s “worst moment in the pandemic” and announced stringent lockdown measures. The country now ranks third in the world, after neighboring Uruguay and Paraguay, in the number of deaths per person over the past week, according to data compiled by The New York Times.
Earlier this month, Conmebol removed Colombia as a co-host after rejecting Colombia’s request to postpone the tournament amid continuing civil unrest and anti-government protests that have killed at least 43 people.
That left Conmebol to consider the possibility of holding the entire championship in Argentina, amid rumors that there could be a last-minute agreement to include another host, like Chile, a vaccination success story in South America that has inoculated about 40 percent of its population.