Sunday, June 20, 2021

Copa America 2021 Must Be Cancelled

The organizers of the Copa America 2021 tournament, CONMEBOL, are in the prime position to do the right thing by postponing or even canceling this year’s competition. All they have to do is read and accept the signs. The first and most obvious is that there still exists a COVID-19 pandemic. The second and equally obvious to people living in South America that there’s a clear economic and social unrest in the countries awarded to host the tournament. The third sign is even more obvious considering that Latin American players based in Europe refuse to participate. Yet much like a person who won’t accept no for an answer, CONMEBOL, the South American version of UEFA, is forcing themselves on countries, the players and the public.

This tournament has been moved around South America like a village bicycle except no one is having any fun. The competition was originally destined to be co-hosted between Argentina and Colombia. Then moved due to the protests in Colombia which made Argentina as the sole inheritor. But was once again moved because of the worsening COVID-19 cases to, of all places, Brazil. A country that has more social unrest and just as much of a COVID-19 crisis as Argentina. But the incompetence isn’t solely placed on the allocation, but it is also attributed to the ignorance and arrogance with which CONMEBOL assumed they can just switch locations and have a regional tournament in 10 days’ time. Organizing a birthday party takes at least a month. You have to invite people, get the cake, find the gift and so on. Providing accommodation, transportation, training facilities, and so much more stuff that goes into setting up a tournament takes at least a year. It takes the World Cup organizers 4 years. Clearly the people at CONMEBOL don’t care.

Neither do the fans or, more importantly, the players. Members of the Brazilian national team who play their club football in Europe are staging a boycott. If this protest was from the Peruvian national team, I might be persuaded to thinking that it doesn’t matter or make a tremendous amount of difference. The fact that the host nations players are waving their middle fingers to CONMEBOL’s greed and ineptitude should send shockwaves. Because clearly the staging of this tournament is solely for monetary purposes, and I dare say it’s probably money that has already been dispersed and spent by the members of that organization. It makes sense that they are beholden to sponsors, to broadcasters and to a similar extent themselves. They have to justify expenditure and keep the books in some order. It’s their self-interest that’s causing such an upheaval with players and a disengagement from fans.

The players are saying they don’t want to play, the countries are bellowing that they can’t host this tournament, but the coffers are aching for funds. Make no mistake, this tournament is going to go through by hook or by crook. But don’t you dare be swayed by the bureaucratic, self-absorbed rhetoric from CONMEBOL that they worked hard and sacrificed themselves for the fans. They don’t care about the fans given how carelessly they went about organizing this cash cow competition. Once again, it’s a football organizing committee that first feeds itself at the expense of the people. They adopt the ideology of a fascist who knowingly spreads false propaganda and fertilizes the land with lies. Then, in return, swallows up the whole lot leaving nothing but confusion and devastation in their path. On the bright side, it will lead to an uprising as all injustices are sooner or later met with the slap of a revolt.

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