The 2021 Copa America has been thrown into further turmoil as ESPN claim that Argentina have withdrawn as a host city for the tournament.
The competition has already been delayed by a year as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and is now due to take place between 13 June-10 July 2021.
With the pandemic on the rise once again in parts of South America, though, Qatar and Australia have already withdrawn from the tournament, taking the numbers down to just ten teams.
The plan had been for Argentina to host Group A while Colombia would host Group B, with qualified teams allocated to a group based on their geographical location; southern teams joining Argentina while those in the north head to Columbia for their group stage fixtures.
But there have been concerns about the viability of continental travel while the virus threatens to spiral out of control, and ESPN’s Andres Agulla reports that Argentina will no longer co-host the competition.
It comes after Argentina president Alberto Fernandez expressed doubts that his country would be involved at all, due to Colombia’s high infection rates.
Quotes by Marca, he said: “I don’t want to frustrate the spectacle of the Copa America. But I want us to be sensible, to be careful. We have time to analyse things and see how it evolves.
“Objectively, I’m seeing what’s happening with Argentine teams. They haven’t even left Argentina and I can see what’s happened. New cases are repeated.
“Sporting authorities have to act with care. What’s happening in Argentina’s football teams shows what can happen if we leave Argentina to play in countries where the problem is worse.”
That was in stark contrast to Colombian president Ivan Duque, who says that if the Copa Libertadores can go ahead, so too can the Copa America.
“There is a very clear commitment from Colombia,” he said previously. “We have said that we are prepared for the Copa America to be played in Colombia with all of the necessary biosafety guarantees. We will be hosting a group of five teams and we will be ready.
“It would be illogical if the national league and the Copa Libertadores could be played and yet five teams in a safe environment could not.”