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Playing the Copa América in Colombia is a bad idea

The protests in the country make the idea of holding a Copa América in Colombia a risky move.

Empty soccer stadium

In addition to the social outbreak that has occurred in the last two weeks, we must not forget the threat posed by the pandemic. Photo: Pixabay - Reference Image

LatinAmerican Post| Juan Manuel Londoño

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Leer en español: Jugar la Copa América en Colombia es una pésima idea

With each passing day, something that we already knew is confirmed: the Copa América cannot take place in Colombia this year. The newspaper "El Tiempo" already confirmed that three of the major sponsors of the event told Conmebol that: "they were not going to participate in a tournament in a country with such a difficult situation of public order and questioned by important international organizations of not respecting human rights".

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There are many voices that have been raised against holding the Copa América in the country and with good reason. In addition to the social outbreak that has occurred in the last two weeks, we must not forget the threat posed by the pandemic. Colombia is currently facing its third wave of coronavirus, the worst so far, with an almost total occupancy of ICU beds in its main cities.

For the national government, however, it is unthinkable to rule out the realization of this event. " It would be absurd that the Copa América is not played here when the Eurocup is going to be played, especially when the epidemiological figures are similar or even worse there," he said a few days ago on Blu Radio.

But let's ignore for a moment that Colombia, number 12 in cases of covid in the world, has only applied 13 doses per 100 inhabitants. Let's put aside the fact that only 5% of the population has been fully vaccinated. Even so, soccer in Colombia is a magnet for crowds.

We have seen it over and over again during the course of the pandemic. Epidemiological barriers do not exist for fans . In December 2020 there were crowds in both Bogotá and Cali for the victory of América de Cali in the Colombian tournament. It happened the same way in a quarterfinal match this year, between Equidad and Nacional. For an event with a profile as large as the Copa América, there is no reason why larger crowds should not be presented at a critical moment.

It is also worth thinking about what it would look like in the eyes of the public to celebrate a Copa América after two weeks of protests and almost a year and a half of confinement. Not surprisingly, the words "smoke screen" and "bread and circus" are already circulating on social media.

Going forward with this event would be a gross mistake.