Next year’s edition of the Copa America national team soccer tournament is set to feature Australia and Qatar following invites from the South American Football Confederation (Conmebol).
The two nations, both of which are members of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), will join the ten South American countries at the 2020 event, which is being co-hosted for the first time by Colombia and Argentina.
Conmebol has proposed that one of Australia or Qatar enters the northern zone group of the tournament along with Colombia, Brazil, Venezuela, Ecuador and Peru, with the other to enter the southern zone group, which features Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay, Bolivia and Chile.
The move means Qatar, who won this year’s AFC Asian Cup, will play in two consecutive editions of the South American soccer’s flagship international tournament ahead of staging the 2022 Fifa World Cup.
Meanwhile Australia, who have since accepted the invitation, will be competing in the competition for the first time.
“The benefits of participating in the tournament are wide ranging,” said David Gallop, chief executive of Football Federation Australia (FFA). “Our team will benefit from the experience of testing themselves out against some of the best players in the world.
“On the commercial side, exposing our national team on a global stage has significant upside as well. I’d also like to extend our gratitude to those at Conmebol for their cooperation during this process.”
Conmebol first invited countries from other continents to compete in the Copa America in 1993. Along with Qatar, the ongoing edition of the tournament also features Japan, who kick off their campaign against Chile on Monday.