CONCACAF, the confederation of North and Central American and the Caribbean, confirmed on Saturday that they, alongside CONMEBOL, the confederation of South America, are working toward a resolution that would allow the much-anticipated Copa America Centenario to be played in the United States next summer after all.
Before the scandal that rocked FIFA earlier this year, the 2016 Copa America, originally scheduled as a 100-year celebration of South America’s showpiece international tournament, was slated to be played in cities all across the U.S. and feature six national teams from CONCACAF, two of which would have been the U.S. and Mexico.
Once it came to light the 2016 Copa was involved in alleged corruption and bribes, the tournament’s future immediately came under question. Up until late this week, none of the involved parties were saying anything. Then, CONMEBOL president Juan Angel Napout said publicly that the tournament would be held in the United States of America. Not so fast, though, as CONCACAF pumped the brakes on Saturday, saying in a brief statement that negotiations are still very much ongoing.
CONCACAF’s full statement:
“We are continuing to work with CONMEBOL, the US Soccer Federation and all other stakeholders on hosting the Copa America Centenario tournament in the United States. CONCACAF is committed to continue working with all parties to address the operational, format and financial issues relating to the tournament in order to ensure greater transparency to this event. We are hopeful that the meeting on Thursday in Mexico City will lead to progress on these issues.”
It does feel as though the 2016 Copa is going to happen here in the U.S., which is great news not only for fans, but for the U.S. national team, which would then compete in four major international tournaments in four summers (pending the result of the CONCACAF Cup for a place in the 2017 Confederations Cup).
The three sides — CONCACAF, CONMEBOL and the U.S. Soccer Federation — must have either agreed in principle or made major progress in recent days and weeks for a leading official to come out and say what he did. Of course, given that they are the ones jointly hosting the competition, CONCACAF and U.S. Soccer won’t be making any promises until it’s officially official.