The CONMEBOL organised Copa America 2021 will have to do without the invitational sides Qatar and Australia due to delayed Asian continental qualification commitments.
The 2021 Copa America is scheduled to be held from June 11 to July 10 in Argentina and Colombia with 12 nations supposed to participate. Alongside the 10 South American nations, Qatar and Australia were invited to participate in the expanded competition.
But now both Qatar and Australia will have to play pending joint 2022 FIFA World Cup/2023 AFC Asian Cup qualifiers in June, which clashes with the Copa America.
Football Australia Chief Executive Officer James Johnson said, “On behalf of the Australian football community, I would like to thank CONMEBOL for their warm invitation to the tournament, as well as their continued dialogue regarding our participation over the past year. We would also like to thank AFC and FIFA which supported our invitation to the tournament.”
“To have participated in such a prestigious competition and to experience the unique South American football culture would have been a thrill for Australian players, staff and fans alike.”
“We wish CONMEBOL every success in the delivery for the Copa America and remain hopeful for an opportunity to participate in future editions of the competition,” James Johnson added.
Meanwhile, the Qatar Football Association, who are also set to participate in this year’s CONCACAF Gold Cup, confirmed the fixture backlog caused by the pandemic had made participating in the South American even impossible, saying, “This decision not to play Copa America has been made after the AFC decided to postpone the joint qualifiers’ dates for the 2023 AFC Asian Cup and 2022 FIFA World Cup.”