Copa America 2021 is seemingly destined with series of suprising twist and turn. Earlier this week, CONMEBOL stripped Argentina's right from the leftover initial host of the tournament following Colombia's failure to convince the football governing body in South America to delay it till November. Such decision led to the shocking selection of Brasil as the new host despite the fact that the Brasilian government has not gained full support from the parliament and their entire people. Now, another twist is looming which could leave the tournament in doubt.
Recently, the latest update shows that the threat comes from the host's backyard. It is Selecao players who start the ripple. They have been reported to disagree with (CBF) Brasil Football Federation's decision to offer their country to host the tournament despite the fact that they are still suffering from the surging contraction case of COVID-19. The players led by the skipper Casemiro are against the idea of playing in this year's Copa America since they have become the object of CBF's exposure in this health crisis. Brasil has been one of the country with the highest death toll in the world reaching 470,000 in total.
Selecao boss, Tite, gave a statement regarding his men's thoughts on being absent from this regional competition.
"They have an opinion, they exposed it to the president and they will expose it to the public at the appropriate time."
The former Corinthians boss himself is even said to consider leaving his post after two fixtures in World Cup qualifiers next week if the federation opts to move forward with their plan. What's worse, Brasilian team also attempts to persuade their contenders to boycott the tournament which is bound to begin on 13th June and apparently some positive responses have been received.
In addition, the mutiny threat has been growing within the local government. Rio de Janeiro's mayor, Eduardo Paes, recently stated that he would possibly have to cancel the Copa America if the pandemic situation in the host of 2016 Olympic Games deteriorates.
"I don't see any advantage in hosting Copa America matches. We didn't ask for the Copa America and if you want my opinion. But if the situation worsens, we will have another decree and that will put an end" to football competitions in the city."
Rio de Janeiro is slated for eight games in the tournament, including the big match between Argentina vs Chile on the 14th of June at Nilton Santos Stadium and the final in Maracana Stadium on the 10th of July. The other three cities which have been chosen by CBF are Brasilia, Cuaiba and Goiania. All games will be played behind closed doors.
It will be interesting to see how CONMEBOL resolve this issue as the option of cancelling the competition would cost more financially as there are a number of sponsors lining up in the contract asking for huge compensation. Copa America is believed to bring approximately $ 120 million, the amount which could potentially help their finance. With the looming boycott and cancellation ahead, there are two ways out available; the tournament carries on with the remaining teams and a hosting team consisting of players and manager who are not against it, or simply is put on hold till the end of the year as Colombia suggested earlier.