CONMEBOL Copa América is the primary international men’s football tournament participated by national teams of South America. Until 1975, it was known as the South American Football Championship. The tournament determines the champion of South America.
Copa America is the oldest running international football tournament. It is also the third most-watched international football tournament in the world. Copa America is a 12-team event and all 10 members of the CONMEBOL participate. The two remaining spots are filled by inviting teams from other confederations. Since the 1990s, teams from North America and Asia have been invited to contest in the tournament. The 2016 edition of the tournament, which was the 100th anniversary of Copa America, saw 16 teams participate in the tournament. The tournament was held in the United States and 6 teams from CONCACAF participated. It was the only time when a non-CONMEBOL nation hosted the tournament. CONCACAF has 41 members and is the international governing body of countries from North America, the Caribbean, and Central America.
Copa America is organised by CONMEBOL which is the governing body of football in South America. It is one of the FIFA’s six continental confederations. It is also the oldest continental football confederation in the world. Its headquarter is in Luque, Paraguay.
The tournament has been won at least once by 8 of the 10 CONMEBOL members since it began in 1916. The only teams yet to win the tournament are Venezuela and Ecuador. Uruguay is the most successful team in the tournament with 15 titles, closely followed by Argentina with 14, while Brazil has won the tournament 9 times. The 2016 edition of the tournament was won by Chile. CONCACAF member Mexico has finished runners-up twice, achieving the highest finish for any non-CONMEBOL members in the tournament.
History of Copa America
To commemorate the centenary of the May Revolution, Argentina organised the first international tournament for the national teams of the continent in 1910. The sport was already growing in popularity in the continent. Argentina, in 1916, hosted another tournament to celebrate its centennial celebration of independence. Argentina, Chile, Brazil, and Uruguay participated in the event. This event, which was won by Uruguay, was officially recognised as the first Copa America tournament. Later, Uruguay Football Association board member suggested setting up a continental body, which led to the formation of CONMEBOL.
Copa America 2021
The 47th edition of the tournament has been surrounded by scandals, controversies, and coronavirus pandemic. Originally, it was meant to be held in Colombia and Argentina from June 12 to July 12, 2020. However, the tournament was postponed to 2021 because of the pandemic. In May 2021, CONMEBOL removed Colombia as a co-host because of the protests in the country against President Iván Duque Márquez. Later, Argentina, too, was removed due to Covid-19-related issues. Brazil has been confirmed as the new host.