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SPORTS | 17-03-2020 12:36

Copa América, Euro 2020 football tournaments postponed

Co-ordinated decision between UEFA and CONMEBOL sees both tournaments delayed by a year. This year's Copa América was due to be co-hosted by Argentina and Colombia.

This year's Copa América in Argentina and Colombia was on Tuesday postponed by a year to 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic, organisers CONMEBOL said.

The announcement came quick on the heels of UEFA's similar decision to also push back Euro 2020 by 12 months.

Copa América, South America's main men's continental competition, was scheduled to run between June 11 and July 11, and for the first time in two countries, Argentina and Colombia, featuring 12 teams including invitees Australia and Qatar.

Regional governing body CONMEBOL said the tournament in Colombia and Argentina will be played between June 11 and July 11 the following year — the same dates as the postponed European Championship.

“It is an extraordinary measure for an unexpected situation, and it answers the fundamental need to avoid an exponential development of the virus, which is already present in all countries that are members of the confederation,” CONMEBOL President Alejandro Domínguez said in a statement.

“We also thank UEFA and its president, Aleksander Čeferin, for the joint work and the coordinated decision to also postpone Euro 2020 for the benefit of all the football family.”

The last Copa América was played in Brazil in 2019 and won by the hosts. This year's edition was expected to open a new era with the tournament every four years, running at the same time as the European Championship.

CONMEBOL had already announced the suspension of the region's club competitions, the Copa Libertadores and the Copa Sudamericana, because of the outbreak.

Čeferin said the spreading coronavirus “makes football and all life in Europe quite impossible.”

The 24-team competition was to be hosted in 12 different countries this year. UEFA also plans to play the tournament next year from June 11 to July 11.

The South American governing body had decided to align the Copa, which mostly used to be played in odd years, to the Euros in order to reduce the impact on European clubs, where a large number of South American international players ply their trade.

Club football all over the world has been suspended due to the coronavirus leaving teams and leagues sweating on whether they will be able to finish the current season.

Many governments have imposed travel restrictions, bans on sports events and even total lockdowns on their populations' movements.

According to the latest figures more than 180,000 people worldwide have been affected by the coronavirus outbreak with 7,400 people dying from the COVID-19 disease.

The suspension of the Copa and Euros increases the chances of domestic leagues, and the Champions League and Europa League, being brought to a conclusion, as long as such social limitations are lifted in the coming weeks or months.

– TIMES/AFP

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