Copa America 2021 has gone through a number of ongoing changes regarding the tournament's hosting plan. Initially, this regional competition was set to be held in two countries, Argentina and Colombia, with two guest teams from AFC, Qatar and Australia. Yet, due to their congested fixtures for World Cup 2022 qualifiers in the same month, which had been previously delayed because of the world pandemic, those two nations decided to pull out. Apparently, coronavirus is not the only reason of the next change. Recently, one of the co-host, Colombia, has reportedly lost their hosting right because of the escalating civil unrest in the country led by the Colombian government's new policy on raising taxes, which is certainly not in favour of their people's current economic critical situation during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Colombia Football Association actually had asked for another tournament postponement to November for Copa America. Nevertheless, it was rejected by CONMEBOL. The football governing body in South America gave the statement regarding the reason plus the tournament's relocation plan:
"For reasons related to the international competition calendar and the logistics of the tournament, it is impossible to transfer the 2021 Copa America to the month of November. CONMEBOL guarantees the holding of the CONMEBOL Copa America 2021 and will inform in the coming days the reallocation of the games that should be played in Colombia."
Before coming to the decision on crossing out Colombia as the host, this year's Copa America was under the threat of another potential delay or even cancellation as the surging COVID-19 contraction case hit Argentina, which could endanger the players' and staffs' welfare if it goes on. However, the government of Argentina is ready to stage the tournament as planned and even offer to host the entire matches in the country, especially with the covid-19 vaccination in the process.
Now, the final decision is the hand of CONMEBOL, who certainly ponders Argentina's offer. They have scheduled a visit to a number of new additional venues there, the two newest stadiums in the city of La Plata, the capital of the province of Buenos Aires: the so-called Estadio Único and Estudiantes de La Plata's homebase, plus Velez Sarsfield's, Racing Club's and Avenalleda Independiente's home turf, for staging the matches.
Previously, it was even rumoured that they had already eyed for two other nations to replace the two joint hosts when the news on civil unrest and rising contraction case in Colombia and Argentina popped up. Chile and Paraguay were said to be opted under CONMEBOL consideration. However, no final decision has been officially made yet till next week.
At the moment, there are a number of scenarios on the table regarding tournament's relocation as the situation develops. The champions of 2015 and 2016 Centenario edition, Chile, through its government has announced the 'mobility pass' policy for anyone who has been vaccinated to enter the country from any neighbouring nations, including Argentina. This could be a sign that Chile is ready to stage the games which were supposedly played in Colombia. Thus, the Chile-Argentina joint host idea seems possible, beside leaving to Argentina only. Another scheme would be selecting other countries, in this case, Ecuador and Venezuela, which have offered themselves too as Colombia replacement. Yet, the first two options seem to be prioritised, as CONMEBOL Secretary General, Gonzalo Belloso implicitly stated this week.