The tournament should have already taken place in 2020, but was postponed by one year, just like the European Championship. As a result, Australia and Qatar could no longer participate and the tournament would have to start with ten instead of twelve participants. Strangely enough, however, the South American Football Association decided to leave the format unchanged. As a result, of the ten participants in the group stage, only two countries do not advance to the quarter-finals.
But the real problems only started last month with host countries Colombia and Argentina. The first country withdrew as an organizer at the beginning of the month after political unrest and security concerns. Due to an increase in the number of corona cases, the Argentines also had to cancel two weeks before the start: the entire country was now in lockdown. But where everyone had expected another postponement, the South American federation promptly announced that Brazil was taking over the organization. Thanks to President Jair Bolsonaro.
That detonated a bomb in Brazil, where a total of almost half a million people have already died from corona. Worldwide, only the United States has more corona deaths, but the virus is still rampant in Brazil. There are almost 2,000 corona deaths every day. Previously, an investigation had already been launched into how Brazilian President Bolsonaro is dealing with the crisis. When he learned that Brazil would host the Copa America, the steam almost came out of Senator Renan Calheiros, who is involved in the investigation. “An incredible idea,” he said. “This will be the championship of death.”
President Jair Bolsonaro
Juca Kfouri, known as a TV host and one of the country’s leading sports journalists, renamed the ‘Copa America’ to the ‘Cova America’. America’s grave. Calheiros called on the Brazilian national team to boycott the tournament “while your family and acquaintances continue to die.” That was heard by Neymar and co. They went with all their fury to the Brazilian president, Rogerio Caboclo, the man who, together with Bolsonaro, had made the tournament possible. Only: Caboclo was no longer there in the meantime. He was suspended after being charged with sexual harassment.
Main sponsors don’t want to see their name anymore
Two days later, there was still a reaction from the Brazilian national team. But they got no further than an official communiqué on social media. “For various reasons, be it from a human or professional standpoint, we are unhappy with the way the Copa America has been handled by the South American Federation,” they wrote. “Just cowardice,” ex-Brazilian international Walter Casagrande sneered. “For a moment I had been naive enough to think that the players could take a historical stance out of compassion for the people.”
The Brazilian Football Federation
Not that the rest of the country resigned. The case was even brought before the Supreme Court in extremis, but that decided three days (!) before the start of the tournament that it could still be played. The judges were critical of the decision to host the tournament, but said they “do not have the authority to ban the tournament.”
In the meantime, major sponsors such as MasterCard and AB Inbev have made it clear that they do not want to see their logo at the tournament, although they are still honoring their sponsorship deals.
Source: The newspapaer