[CENTENNIAL COPA AMERICA] A day after Conmebol, the South American soccer confederation, announced plans for a 16-team Copa America to celebrate the tournament's 100th anniversary and to be played in the United States in 2016, U.S. Soccer and Concacaf officials pushed back, saying discussions were ongoing but no agreement had been finalized. As a result, Conmebol has removed reference to the tournament from its web site.
"While the idea of a Centennial tournament with some of the best teams in the hemisphere is certainly intriguing," U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati said in a statement, "it is not something we have agreed to host or participate in at this time. As Concacaf stated, there are still a number of discussions that need to take place with Conmebol. U.S. Soccer would also need to be involved in discussions about hosting the tournament. We’re looking forward to those discussions in the near future."
Concacaf general secretary Enrique Sanz also said talks were ongoing.
“Even though playing the 2016 Copa America in the Concacaf region with our teams and those from Conmebol would be a wonderful experience for all fans, we are still in the midst of talks and negotiations between all parties involved in this decision,” said Sanz. “This is an idea we are hoping to materialize but we are still evaluating and discussing before it becomes official but the intention is definitely there.”
Plans for the 16-team tournament include the participation of 16 team: all 10 South American teams, the USA and Mexico, plus four other Concacaf teams.
Following a meeting of its executive committee and member federation presidents Wednesday in Buenos Aires, Conmebol released a statement about various agenda items, including the Centennial Copa America. But by Thursday, Conmebol's statement makes no reference to the 2016 event.
Much of the ongoing discussions about what was dubbed "Copa Dinero" by U.S. agent Richard Motzkin will revolve around who handles various aspects of the tournament, most notably media and marketing rights.
Conmebol's Wednesday statement included reference to a Buenos Aires-based agency Full Play handling commercial rights for the tournament and Fox Sports and Brazil's Globo handling television.