Australia and Qatar to participate in Copa America 2020

Australia and Qatar will be invited guest teams at the 2020 Copa America to be jointly held in Colombia and Argentina.

2015 Asian Cup champion Australia will participate at the 2020 Copa America to be held in Colombia and Argentina.   -  Reuters

Australia and Asian Cup champion Qatar will be the guest teams to participate in next year's Copa America, the South American Football Federation, CONMEBOL, announced on Thursday.

“We have decided to invite ... to participate in our competitions the current Asian confederation champions and the previous ones,” said Alejandro Dominguez, the president of South American football's governing body.

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The announcement comes a day before the 2019 edition begins in Sao Paulo with host nation Brazil facing Bolivia.

The 2022 FIFA World Cup host Qatar is making its Copa America debut this year and has been placed alongside 14-time winner Argentina, Colombia and Paraguay in Group B.

“Qatar are the last champions of the Asian confederation -- having champions participating in a competition always elevates the prestige and quality of football,” said Paraguayan Dominguez.

Qatar and Australia will join 10 South American nations in the 2020 tournament, which will for the first time will be held jointly in two countries -- Colombia and Argentina -- even though they are at opposite ends of the continent.

“The decision has had to be postponed because the agency tasked with proposing the competition's format hasn't yet managed to present its final project,” said Dominguez. He added that the tournament would not be a a two-legged affair, and would instead be “played in one match, in one place.”

(With inputs from AFP)