Asuncion (Paraguay), March 24 (IANS) The South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) said it is working with officials in Argentina and Colombia to secure enough Covid-19 vaccines to allow fans at this year’s Copa America.
Originally scheduled for 2020, the 47th edition of the Copa America — to be played in Argentina and Colombia — was postponed by a year because of the pandemic.
The tournament will begin on June 13 with a clash between Argentina and Chile at the Monumental stadium in Buenos Aires. Paraguay and Bolivia will meet later the same day at the Malvinas Argentinas stadium in Mendoza.
However plans to play the matches in front of spectators remain in doubt amid continued high infection rates and sluggish vaccination campaigns.
“We are days away from starting our next edition of the Copa America in a new format and with two countries that have tremendous football fans who are eager to host us,” CONMEBOL president Alejandro Dominguez said during the Paraguay-based entity’s annual congress, Xinhua news reports.
“We are working together with both governments to be able to get as many vaccines as possible so that the general public have the opportunity to be at the stadiums to cheer on their heroes. ”
This year will mark the first time the world’s oldest international football tournament is staged in two countries.
Australia and Qatar announced their decision to pull out of the competition last month because of a clash with rescheduled 2022 Asian World Cup qualifiers.
Argentina, Bolivia, Uruguay, Chile and Paraguay make up the southern group while reigning champions Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador and Peru have been placed in the northern section. The final will be played in Colombia’s Caribbean port city of Barranquilla on July 10.