If you were already planning your trip to see Lionel Messi, Neymar and Alexis Sanchez ripping it up in the USA next summer, hold your horses.
The 2016 Copa America Centenario tournament was directly mentioned by U.S. Attorney General Lorreta Lynch in her address last Wednesday about the indictment of nine FIFA officials on ground of bribery and corruption by the U.S. Department of Justice and the FBI.
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FIFA officials in the CONCACAF and CONMEBOL regions, who control soccer in North and South America respectively, were at the center of the shocking corruption arrests in Switzerland and considering they organized this tournament to celebrate 100 years of the Copa America, the first tournament to be played on foreign soil may never get off the ground.
Jose Luis Meiszner, the secretary general of South American soccer’s governing body CONMEBOL, spoke to a radio station in Argentina on Monday and is pretty skeptical about next summer’s tournament going ahead.
“Today one has to question the possibility of playing this tournament,” Meiszner said. “…We have to be prepared for enormous turmoil to hold this event, given the rights holders are also being questioned.”
With the likes of Argentina, Brazil, Colombia and Chile set to head to North America and take on the likes of the USA and Mexico in an expanded Copa America tournament with 10 teams from South America and six from the CONCACAF region, huge stadiums across the U.S. were expected to be packed out to witness some of soccer’s greatest stars in action.
But with the ongoing investigation into alleged corruption, bribery and racketeering at FIFA, plus soccer officials who organized this tournament in North and South America facing serious charges, it seems like the 2016 Copa America Centenario taking place is in serious jeopardy.