SHOULD THE SOUTH AMERICAN FESTIVAL OF COPA AMERICA BE POSTPONED AS BRAZIL IS EXPERIENCING AN INCREASE IN DEATHS BECAUSE OF COVID-19?
A dark day in footballing history has finally drawn to a close. With unfortunate headlines pouring from different parts of the world. Christian Eriksen’s losing consciousness in the first half of Denmark’s opening match led the charts. While the cancellation of Copa America 2021 should be a realistic plan for CONEMBOL as South America is gripped by the pandemic. This Copa America has become a political mine-field.
"Football is a beautiful game and Christian plays it beautifully," says UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin.
— UEFA EURO 2020 (@EURO2020) June 12, 2021
Although once again the South American festival, Copa America is back in the thick of things. After constant juggling between a few countries, Brazil was decided as the final venue although with just a day left the questions around Copa America’s existence are starting to be raised.
— Copa América (@CopaAmerica) June 12, 2021
Colombia and Argentina were decided to co-host the tournament but the former backed out owing to political unrest and fights with the police. An unpredicted surge in covid cases in Argentina put Copa America’s future hanging by a thin thread when Brazil jumped in to save the day.
But now with Brazil’s chances of hosting looking shaky what’s the future of the tournament and why shifting the tournament will be a wise decision?
WHO’S THE FINAL HOST?
For the first time in the history of the South American competition, two countries were co-hosting the event. But a competition that should have made history created enormous drama. Although the Colombian government had other plans in mind. New tax reform was introduced in the country by the officials which weren’t liked by the locals. Soon after the announcement, the Colombians took to the streets to express their anger.
Dozens of deaths during protests in Colombia are putting the nation’s militarized security forces under a global microscope.
A Post examination of video footage involving four of the deaths shows how Colombian police appear to have crossed a lethal line. https://t.co/ZV1aosaPg5
— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) May 20, 2021
The government decided to withdraw the laws but the Colombian people didn’t leave the streets fighting for a few more issues. Constant arguments between the country and its government encouraged CONMEBOL to take the hosting privilege out of Colombia’s hands. A disruptive tournament with lengthy breaks is something no one would have liked.
La Albiceleste then became the sole host of the competition. Lionel Messi’s last bite at an international trophy with Argentina being the host, the hosts looked favourites. But once again another hurdle stepped in to hijack the Copa America flight. Political unrest in Colombia was the cause back then and a sudden increase in covid-19 cases was the reason here.
A CONMEBOL informa que, em atenção às circunstâncias presentes, resolveu suspender a organização da Copa América na Argentina. A CONMEBOL analisa a oferta de outros países que mostraram interesse em abrigar o torneio continental. Em breve serão anunciadas novidades nesse sentido.
— CONMEBOL 🇧🇷 (@CONMEBOLBR) May 31, 2021
The most successful outfit in the 105-year history of the tournament, Argentina were in deep waters regarding hosting the tournament. With the number of deaths and number of patients not decreasing, CONMEBOL started looking for another stage to organise their competition. At last, Brazil came as a wildcard and offered to be the party-givers this summer.
The final party landed in Brazil with the reigning champions ready to play the role of hosts. Although the competition faced backlash when Brazil was announced as the hosts. A country drowning with the effect of the pandemic, Brazil hosting the tournament is a money move.
Many regional administration representatives in Brazil have slammed the decision to conduct the competition while the virus is actively causing a rampage in South America. Bolsonaro’s cabinet is reportedly under scrutiny for its treatment of the pandemic and hosting the Copa America at this point of time might not be on Brazil’s wishlist.
Brazil defends hosting of Copa America tournament
— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) June 2, 2021
Many Albiceleste athletes were dissatisfied with the verdict to relocate the championship to Brazil and approached their club teammates who had turned into international rivals in the hopes of banding together to prevent the contest from actually occurring.
Argentina’s poacher Sergio Aguero has also expressed his displeasure with the choice to transfer the championship to Brazil stating “It is clear that we are not well here (in Argentina), so that was a correct decision by CONMEBOL. If it is difficult there (Brazil), we cannot play,”
Rival parties, notably socialist, retired Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who reportedly leads Bolsonaro in projections for next year’s federal races, have filed a petition with the nation’s law-making agencies to stop the competition, claiming it might be unsafe.
Another head in the country’s administration Carlos Siqueira, tweeted, “Authoritarian governments used sport to win over the people. So does the president [Jair Bolsonaro] when accepting the Copa America in Brazil when we have almost 500,000 deaths by Covid. It is negotiating popularity with the spread of the virus in-stadium clusters. A project of death.”
Chile’s football team was also opposed to hosting the tournament in Brazil. In a place where Covid-19 cases aren’t decreasing, hosting a tournament with or without fans could be dangerous in many ways. Matias Walker called the country “ the epicentre of illness and deaths”. He further stated that the South American country gives birth to new variants every week worsening their case.
🇧🇷 Sempre uma honra e um orgulho enorme defender essa camisa! Parabéns a todo o grupo por mais uma vitória! Estamos todos juntos!
— Casemiro (@Casemiro) June 5, 2021
The whole Brazilian squad also joined hands to express their frustration and anger. The Brazilian players took to Twitter claiming that the competition’s arrival in Brazil is a foolish move. Although the players also ensured that if the tournament is shown the green light they will do their best to retain the title of the prestigious Copa America.
With Copa America just 2 days away, chaos and panic are in the air. Officials, lawmakers, and a few players are all against organising the event in Brazil. The South American festival could ignite large amounts of illness in Brazil if even one protocol is broken. The most viable decision at this point would be to shift the tournament for a while and see what the future beholds. A small window can be found and the tournament can be scheduled at that time instead of risking lives today.