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About those reports that Copa America was coming to the United States …

Oct 25, 2012, 12:17 PM EDT

us soccer

For everybody who got excited, hot and bothered about the big news that South America’s premier national team competition was coming to the United States and adding members from our region – you might want to tuck all that excitement back in your pocket. For now, at least.

This thing has tremendous potential, but it’s already spiraling into a big mess.

The news came out yesterday that the 2016 Copa America would be played in the United States. It had been talked about, but yesterday’s development seemed to make it official.

It always seemed odd that CONMEBOL, the governing body for South American soccer, would hold its 100th anniversary tournament outside South America. But I think we all know what this is about – money. The cash potential of a 16-team tournament here including the usual South American biggies (Brazil, Argentina, etc.) along with Mexico, the United States and other members of CONCACAF was simply too much to resist. (Too “green” to resist, if you know what I mean.)

Only, it’s not true. Not yet anyway … and possibly not at all.

Turns out that neither CONCACAF nor U.S. Soccer has signed off on all this.

I just spoke to U.S. Soccer spokesman Neil Buethe. He told me statements are forthcoming from CONCACAF and then from U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati.

But the bottom line, he assured me, is that those reports are premature, and on two fronts. There are two choices here from U.S. Soccer’s side: whether the United States will participate and, the more significant one, whether it will be here in the United States.

U.S. Soccer would absolutely have to be on board.

Stay tuned on this one.

  1. whordy - Oct 25, 2012 at 12:32 PM

    Well, I hope its only formality because this is objectively a wonderful idea for all soccer fans but also for soccer in the states.
    If US Soccer doesn’t sign off on this than it would be a disaster and would really make me wonder why we have an economist running soccer for us.

  2. dfstell - Oct 25, 2012 at 12:49 PM

    I can’t imagine how contentious the negotiations would be on this just for how to split up the TV money. CONMEBOL would point out that they have a successful tournament with 100 years of history, World Cup winners competing and actual European interest in the product. They’d offer the CONCACAF nations some embarrassingly small split of the revenues.

    Then the US and Mexico will say….”In that case, we’ll send our B-teams to the competition and you’ll be playing in front of a bunch of empty stadiums.” or “Just hold your event in Rio in that case.”

    It isn’t like there is a good revenue sharing template from the last time they did one of these.

    I do agree that it would be fun to watch.

  3. bishopofblunder - Oct 26, 2012 at 7:18 PM

    To me, it sounds more like CONMEBOL is using the U.S. as leverage to get a better offer from the South American interests.

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