Coronavirus: Copa America pushed back to 2021 as global pandemic rages on

Copa America 2020

The South American Football Confederation has confirmed that the 2020 Copa America has been postponed until next year due to fears over the coronavirus outbreak.

The tournament was due to take place in Argentina and Colombia this summer, with the opening fixture between the former host nation and Chile originally scheduled for June 12 and the final pencilled in a month later on July 12.

CONMEBOL president Alejandro Dominguez has revealed that the competition will now be staged between June 11 and July 11 in 2021, with the announcement swiftly following UEFA's decision to push back the European Championship.

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Dominguez explained the decision in a short statement on Tuesday: "This is an extraordinary measure for an unexpected situation and responds to the fundamental need to avoid the exponential evolution of the virus.

"It wasn't easy to take this decision but we must safeguard at all times the health of our players and all those who form part of the big South American football family.

"Have no doubts that the oldest international tournament in the world will be back stronger than ever in 2021."

A number of European-based players would have been required to travel back to South America for the Copa America, forcing CONMEBOL to act in a bid to contain the spread of the virus.

The World Health Organisation identified Europe as the new Covid-19 pandemic epicentre on Friday, with Italy the most affected country on the continent with over 27,000 recorded cases to date.

Two people have died from coronavirus in Argentina and Colombia has banned the entry of non-residents via its borders, a measure which is also now being considered by Chile.

Several more South American countries have put protocols in place to cope with the ongoing crisis, with Venezuela now under quarantine and Peru declaring a national emergency.

The latest announcements coincide with the delay of many of the world's top-flight leagues, with football essentially on hold amid the coronavirus.

There are, however, a few exceptions, including in Turkey, with the Super Lig continuing up to now despite opposition from players.