BUENOS AIRES – This year’s Copa America is likely to be played with the presence of fans at stadiums, the South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) said on Thursday.

The competition is due to be held in Colombia and Argentina from June 11 to July 10, having been postponed by a year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

It will be the first time that the world’s oldest continental football tournament will be played in two countries.

“I am very optimistic after speaking with the sports ministers of the two countries. There is a high probability that there will be fans,” CONMEBOL president Alejandro Dominguez said in an interview broadcast on Argentine television.

“Both countries have very ambitious vaccination policies and they expect to reach almost 50 percent (of the population) before June. And to that, one adds the (herd) immunity that is generated.”

Last December, Dominguez said the Copa America would be “impossible” without fans because of the competition’s dependence on gate receipts.

The Paraguayan official said that planning for the event, which will include guest nations Australia and Qatar, remains “on time and in good shape”.