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U.S. Soccer and Concacaf pushes back, Conmebol backtracks
by Paul Kennedy, October 25th, 2012 7:42PM

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TAGS:  copa america

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[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.



9 comments
  1. Kenneth Barr
    commented on: October 26, 2012 at 7:58 a.m.
    That sounds more like it. Something like this requires far more than just an announcement, too many of the hoi polloi have to be "consulted." This story has a long way to go before a conclusion is reached. I would like to know who the "players" in this are, we know Sunil Gulati is one but who from CONCACAF is in on this.

  1. Ivan Mark Radhakrishnan
    commented on: October 26, 2012 at 8:30 a.m.
    THESE 'COMPETITIONS' have got to be looked at closely and THE ACCOUNTING CHECKED! Fifty Three Million dollars is the COST TO THE SOUTH AFRICAN TAX PAYER for them to host the ORANGE Africa Cup of Nations 2013 Edition. The 'winner' will get US$1 million with the 'runner-up' getting US$750,000. These 'tournament organizers' are bidding and 'FIXING THINGS' for 'what's in it for ME!' and not what it does for the Development of the Game, The Entertainment and the profitability. CON-MEBOL Vs CON-CACAF / USA Football does not surprise Me. WHO DOES THE ACCOUNTING FOR THE TAX CASH AND THE INCOME FROM TICKET / SEAT SALES AND TELEVISION? WILL IT BE AVAILABLE ON THE INTERNET?

  1. DonJuego Lee
    commented on: October 26, 2012 at 9:29 a.m.
    Gulati has already been consulted. What he needs is to be paid. All will be go as soon as CONMEBOL agrees to let SUM make money off of the event. Don't they know that SUM has the monopoly over soccer in this part of the world?

  1. Albert Harris
    commented on: October 26, 2012 at 9:42 a.m.
    Figured it was too logical to ever have a hope in hell of being adopted.

  1. rocky rockwell
    commented on: October 26, 2012 at 10:17 a.m.
    Forget about US Soccer taking the US fans into consideration in any negotiations for this great tournament. Their only concern is the bottom line dollars.

  1. Nate Nelson
    commented on: October 26, 2012 at 1:58 p.m.
    @DonJuego Lee: merriam-webster.com/dictionary/communism communism: a system of social organization inwhich all economic and social activity is controlled by a totalitarian state dominated by a single and self-perpetuating political party. USSF/MLS: see communism

  1. Alberto Mora
    commented on: October 26, 2012 at 3:02 p.m.
    The idea of include Concacaf is to celebrate the Special Centenial of Copa America not to include Concacaf permanent and the only benefit is for Concacaf as a learning experience.

  1. Eric in DC
    commented on: October 27, 2012 at 9:45 a.m.
    The suspicion surrounding USSoccer's intent is disturbing. If I were Sunil, I would've heard CONMEBOL announcement and immediately start answering questions. What stadiums to use? Which cities want to host? How to divide the winnings between teams and host cities? Is there a separate fee or cost to CONMEBOL? Who will control TV contracts? Nothing about hosting Copa America is easy; this is a huge tournament. I am sure US Soccer will work diligently on this because the fan experience will be amazing and there is money to be made. But if we screw this up, we will have a heck of a time next time we try to host something.

  1. Andrzej Kowalski
    commented on: October 27, 2012 at 4:16 p.m.
    the best thing US can do is to move out from concacaf to conmembol!


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