Football Australia today confirmed that the Socceroos have withdrawn from the CONMEBOL Copa America 2021.
Regrettably, significant changes to Australia’s senior men’s national football team’s FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ qualification schedule, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, have forced Australia to withdraw from the tournament which will be held in Argentina and Colombia in June and July this year.
Football Australia Chief Executive Officer, James Johnson, expressed disappointment that the Socceroos won’t feature at the 47th edition of the Copa America – a tournament that the team were invited to in 2019.
“It is with great disappointment that Australia cannot feature at the Copa America in 2021,” Johnson said. “Regrettably, the international football calendar, including our FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ qualification schedule, has been significantly disrupted over the past 12 months by the COVID-19 pandemic.”
“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 in 2019.
“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,” he said.
Socceroos Head Coach Graham Arnold echoed Johnson’s sentiments.
“The Socceroos’ players and staff were greatly looking forward to the unique opportunity of playing in the Copa America and it is unfortunate that, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we will be unable to attend in 2021,” Arnold said. “On behalf of the team I thank CONMEBOL for the invitation, which would have presented our team with a fantastic opportunity to test itself against some of the world’s best.”
Over the next four months a key priority for Football Australia is to ensure that the Socceroos complete their final four FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ and AFC Asian Cup China 2023™ – Preliminary Joint Qualification Round 2 matches.