Copa America 2020 to be split between Colombia, Argentina

World Today

More changes for the 2020 edition of South America’s football championship. First, officials moved it from an odd-numbered year to an even-numbered one. Now, they said Copa America 2020 will be split between two countries. As CGTN’s Michelle Begue reports, many are not happy with the decision.

For the first time ever, South America’s futbol championship Copa America, will be hosted by two countries. The 2020 tournament will be held in Argentina and Colombia.

The South American Football Confederation, or CONMEBOL, said the 10 teams and two guests will be split into two groups of six to play in each host country.

“There will also be a change in format, now it will be six teams and the best four teams from the North and South regions will pass to the next round and then there will quarter-finals, semi-finals and the final, which we still don’t know how and where it will be held,” said sports analyst Sebastian Heredia.

There’s already controversy over how the knockouts will be held as some teams would face a six-and-a-half hour flight to commute between opposite ends of the continent for matches. Traveling teams would miss an extra day of rest, or training, and must adapt to changes in altitude. While Buenos Aires is almost at sea level, Bogota is more than 2,500 meters above it.

And the biggest question — where will the final be held?

“One of the conditions that Brazil set is that they wouldn’t play a final in Bogota, because of the high altitude there,” said Heredia. “So you already see a play of strengths within the organization.”

Colombia will be paired with Brazil, Ecuador, Venezuela and Peru, while Argentina with their southern neighbors: Uruguay, Chile, Paraguay and Bolivia. While the CONMEBOL President said this change would make it easier for fans to move geographically, many Colombian fans disagree.

“We are going to miss out on watching certain teams,” lamented Cesar Pardo. “I think Colombia could have hosted it alone.”

“When we move to quarter finals and finals, what happens?” asked Jose Gabriel Roasio. “It affects these countries because of the investment we have made in infrastructure.”

This year’s Copa America will be played in Brazil. After the 2020 tournament two years from now, the Copa America will be scheduled every four years.