The South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) has said that Qatar will no longer partake in the 2021 Copa America tournament.
Qatar’s national football team has pulled out of the 2021 Copa America tournament that is set to take place in June and July of this year, according to the secretary general of CONMEBOL Gonzalo Belloso.
Belloso said that Australia will also not play in the tournament, meaning that this year’s Copa America will not feature its two non-South American participants.
Previously, 12 teams were to be split into northern and southern groups. Qatar was meant to play in the northern section against Brazil, Ecuador, Venezuela, Peru and hosts Colombia.
Qatar’s withdrawal is due to a scheduling conflict, which it said followed the Asian Football Confederation’s [AFC] “decision to postpone the joint qualifying round for the 2022 World Cup and the 2023 AFC Asian Cup to be held in June 2021, which conflicts with the schedule of matches in the Copa America.”
The AFC qualifiers were postponed in light of existing travel and quarantine restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Copa America is the oldest tournament in international football and is due to be hosted in two nations – Argentina and Colombia – for the first time.
CONMEBOL told Reuters that they will look at the possibility of inviting two other teams to replace Australia and Qatar. Regardless of whether this happens, the tournament will remain unchanged, even if it proceeds with 10 teams.
The tournament is scheduled to kick off in Buenos Aires on June 11 and end with the final in Barranquilla, Colombia on July 10.