Buckle those seat belts really, really tightly, folks, because the drama surrounding the 2016 Copa America Centenario doesn’t look to be going anyway anytime soon.
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In fact, it’ll probably be sticking around all the way through the end of next summer, when the actual tournament is played…somewhere. Last weekend, CONCACAF (North and Central America and the Caribbean) released a statement that intimated Copa America’s centennial celebration competition would be played in the United States, as originally planned. On Wednesday, the New York Times reported that U.S. Soccer likely plans to pull out of its role as tournament host.
The Times report was correct in that it also said U.S. Soccer officials would skip a Thursday meeting with top executives from CONCACAF and CONMEBOL (South America), as well as television broadcast partners. Following the Thursday meeting, CONCACAF released another statement that seemed to say, *sticks fingers in ears* “La la la, we can’t hear you, U.S. Soccer, we’re still coming to the U.S. next summer. OK, bye.”
“Today in Mexico City, CONCACAF had a very productive meeting with CONMEBOL and our broadcast partners, Univision and Televisa, regarding the Copa America Centenario. While all parties recognize that there are still issues that must be resolved, we are all in alignment regarding the next steps to be taken as well as the aggressive timeline towards realizing our common goal of staging the Copa America Centenario in the United States. We remain committed to working with all parties to resolve outstanding issues and operational components of the tournament.”
This whole thing is, of course, a huge mess. The only entity currently under as much (or more) fire than the 2016 Copa America organizers is, as always, FIFA, who on Thursday ousted its no. 2 official amid further allegations of corruption.
So, soccer is still really fun and about actual soccer and all that.