CONMEBOL jumped the gun on the super-sized 2016 Copa America (UPDATED)

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So much for that big party in three and a half years.

Wednesday’s big news that a revamped Copa America was coming to the United States was the talk of the town, and had American soccer fans drooling at the prospects of a high-profile tournament coming to our shores in 2016. After years of rumors about the possibility, it was easy to fall in love with the news of it actually happening.

The only problem is neither U.S. Soccer or CONCACAF had agreed to such an event just yet.

Sources at U.S. Soccer have told SBI that no agreement has been reached on a Copa America on American soil, and all indications are that the event isn’t close to being finalized. So instead of beginning to prepare for an amazing event in 2016, we are all left to wonder whether this dream of an event can actually be pulled off.

CONCACAF is expected to issue a statement about the proposed event later this afternoon, as is U.S. Soccer, and with there being zero chance either of those statements including the words “Yes, this event is definitely happening” we are soon to be left pondering the possibility of it all falling apart before it ever becomes reality.

(UPDATED- Here is the statement from U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati, released late Thursday afternoon, regarding a proposed 2016 Copa America in the United States:

While the idea of a Centennial tournament with some of the best teams in the hemisphere is certainly intriguing, 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.

And here is a statement from CONCACAF:

“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 CONCACAF General Secretary, Enrique 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.”


In other words, nothing is completed yet, and there is still plenty to be agreed to and finalized before a 2016 Copa America in the United States becomes a reality. There is a good chance some sort of event is agreed upon, but there are still plenty of hurdles standing in the way of the type of dream event first imagined when this news broke on Wednesday.

Stay tuned.

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42 Responses to CONMEBOL jumped the gun on the super-sized 2016 Copa America (UPDATED)

  1. 2tone says:

    CONCACAF you are dumb!

    • 2tone says:

      Oh and plese make the Gold Cup a 4 year event not an every 2 year event, so this tournament can take place.

      This needs to get done.

      • Doug says:

        I agree with the 4-year cycle. Here’s another thought. Hold the stinkin’ Gold Cup in a place other than the US. I still have a bad taste in my mouth about the whole Jack Warner thing. Let the Caribbean nations host it. Maybe the north American members will get a little more respect.

        • BrianSLO says:

          Terrible idea. Would you mind telling me which Caribbean nations are capable of hosting? Almost every CFU team has only 1 large stadium, and that 1 stadium is absolute garbage (see Jamaica or Antigua).

          Gold Cup should be rotated between Canada, the US, and Mexico, and maybe a joint bid between some of the Central American countries. The only Central American countries with more than 1 large stadium (over 20k) are Honduras and Costa Rica.

          • solles says:

            well, Brian, clearly a Gold Cup in that region would have to be hosted by a group of nations, but there are definitely enough adequate stadiums in Central America (less so in the Caribbean) to host the tourney collectively.

            • PD says:

              There is also the very practical matter that tournaments like this generate revenue to cover production costs and grow the federation. The US, Canada and Mexico offer the greatest chance of big gate sales. That said, Panama, Honduras, Costa Rica could all do a joint bid and probably acquit themselves well

  2. James says:

    Well, this better be a formality because if the USSF actually holds this up Gulati might as well fire himself.

    • Old School says:

      “I will if the money is right.”

      -Sunil Gulati aka Sepp Blatter sympathizer and non-voter of England’s motion to to postpone the FIFA election in favor of investigations

  3. FakeU says:

    Man, I hope you’re right.

    I sincerely respect Concacaf and the US after living here for so many years but the Copa America belongs in South America. I do not want to sound snobby but it’s really the only tournament left without moneygrubbing hands on it. The Euro is fantastic but too corporate. The Confed Cup is a waste. The World Cup is a dream but it’s changing fast.

    Please leave our little tournament be.

    • Edwin in LA says:

      Yeah to each it’s own but you are a very dying breed….what’s wrong with making the tournaments more global?

    • Edwin in LA says:

      And by the way….Mexico being there for every tournament means that guess what they ARE being Money grabbers!

  4. bryan says:

    that’s ridiculous. USSF annoys me. CONCACAF annoys me. i can’t stand them.

    • bigprof says:

      dude, you need to keep abrest of concacaf politics. here’s what was really being said in the USSF/Concacaf statements:”we’d like to say yes, but the caribbean confederations are holding out for at least one spot in the final 6, and would totally require reorganizing of the Gold cup”.

  5. Michael R. says:

    Eh, it’ll happen. If I know anything about CONCACAF, it’s that they won’t pass up the massive payday.

    Apparently some of the Central American nations are unhappy that Mexico was included automatically. USA, fine. Host nation. But Mexico? What makes them so special? (Other than the obvious ability to pull 80K for any game in the US)

    They’ll sort it out. But it always takes time when there’s a large pot of cash on the table.

    • Edwin in LA says:

      Well the fact that Mexico is the most competitive team in the region both historically AND currently as much as I hate it they are above us right now….not as much as say after the Gold Cup when they beat us and had all these young guys from the winning U-17 WC champions and also the Copa America U-23 squad and U-20 WC team that went to I think the quarters or semis….and for sure before we had integrated Fabian Johnson as a left back and FINALLY figured out Danny Williams as a D-Mid…..not to mention Terrence Boyd being part of the Senior team….but still Mexico is ahead….

      And they are more likely to do well vs the South American teams….and of course they will be a HUGE draw and command a BIG payday for both US and Mexico TV Rights to this tournament…..not to mention the rest of both Central and South America who will for sure watch this even more now…

      • Astorian says:

        Also I believe that Mexico has a permanent invitation to participate in Copa America, so there’s really no reason that these Central American countries should be upset by Mexico being included automatically.

      • solles says:

        all true but also all beside the point, which is what gives Mexico the right to be able to skip qualifying? It’s not like they wouldn’t be able to qualify.

    • fortunate only says:

      hahaha is this comment serious?

      What makes them so special?

      The fact that they had outperformed every single CONMEBOL nation in their own regional tournament, with the exception of Brazil and Argentina, since their first invitation in 1993 kinda speaks for itself on the sporting side of things.

      It’s obviously a money issue where CONMEBOL feels Mexico will bring in fans and sponsors but the idea that Central American nations are upset about Mexico being invited is laughable since some of those same countries aren’t even competitive with Mexico currently.

    • fortunate only says:

      hahaha is this comment serious?

      What makes them so special?

      The fact that they had outperformed every single CONMEBOL nation in their own regional tournament, with the exception of Brazil and Argentina, since their first invitation in 1993 kinda speaks for itself on the sporting side of things.

      It’s obviously a money issue where CONMEBOL feels Mexico will bring in fans and sponsors but the idea that Central American nations are upset about Mexico being invited is laughable since some of those same countries aren’t even competitive with Mexico currently.

  6. bottlcaps says:

    Indeed, the proposed Copa America stands to make BIG $$$ here in the US, With 5 star (football, NFL and college) stadiums as well as some MLS stadiums, with lots of big cities and more importantly, LOTS of US and foreign fans, it will turn over a lot of bucks for the promoters. Yea, it may be the 100 birthday of the tournament, but it’s also a good excuse to come north where the big sports money is!!. Even SA has woken up to the fact that soccer is a full-fledged sport here with lots of fans and even more gringo bucks!!

    With all the money, who gets it? TV rights? Confederation and FIFA profit shares? There are LOTS of elements to be worked out. While, if held in the summer, it would be a good time for most of the world. It’s smack dab in the middle of the MLS season. Put in on a vacation for two-three weeks. How about some compensation from the promoters for a loss of revenue. See…lots of issues to be worked out.

    It won’t be easy, but CONMBOL did a good thing to announce the possibility, even if premature. It generates interest and also the idea that big tournament and the US go well together (hint,hint FIFA and WC selectors)

  7. The Imperative Voice says:

    I don’t see FIFA as a roadblock at least to the extent of CONMEBOL, bceause it’s their tourney plus guests. The only difference is more guests and different siting. At least for their players, I don’t see why they wouldn’t be “on-calendar” for their own regional championship.

    Many CONCACAF players would be on a summer break from their league assuming it was held then. And I have difficulty believing MLS teams wouldn’t release players for this or most any other big tournament. October, maybe not. But this is summer.

    As far as the other issues go, I think US approval and the split of the profits telescope down to the single issue of if CONMEBOL is willing to wet the USA’s beak enough to secure the approval. That is presumably just a matter of

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      ….. business. The deal is either sweet enough or not. With the buzz over this thing, it would be dumb to let greed get in the way.

  8. mikeandike says:

    someone made a sarcastic comment about USSF turning this down-this better not happen…

    this is better for USMNT than two Gold Cups combined in terms of competititon

    Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Uruguay, Paraguay, Ecuador, Chile are all better competitors than anyone in CONCACAF save for Mexico…

    this is a no-brainer, what is the hold-up? if Mexico can come here as they please to get $$$$ from friendlies, what in the world is stopping this tournament from going forward? it’s not even in a Gold Cup year….sheesh

  9. Big Chil says:


  10. Michael V says:

    So why exactly are people upset with USSF and CONCACAF? They are essentially saying they have to complete their due delligence. What’s wrong with that? I sensed when the news came out yesterday that it was a jump of the gun. Why?? Because everything was from CONMEBOL’s side. All they did was vote on their respective members saying it was okay to have the tournament in the US. It seems logical to me a vote would be to explore the idea followed by months of talks and preparation between all entities (CONCACAF, CONMEBOL, USSF). Instead they opened their big months in CONMEBOL saying it was a done deal. That could be a red flag and indication on how they do business down there. I’d be concerned. Before anyone says it, I’m all for the Copa in the US. I’m just saying in hurts no one harm to complete due delligence before making an announcement.

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      It kind of depends on the “numbers” but I don’t blame the US for making sure it gets a decent deal. But it would be a shame if either side’s greed got in the way.

  11. ISAF says:

    exactly CONCACAF Gold Cup should be every 4 years. the last 1 before the change should be 2015

    • Felix says:

      I’d love to see it as well. But CONCACAF isn’t exactly awash with money, and needs the Gold Cup to generate revenue. Our own CL barely generates crowds, and the Gold Cup itself doesn’t draw very well outside of El Tri, some US games and the more successful CA countries.

  12. XPK says:

    So does anyone else think that CONEMBOL made their “premature” statement intentionally to put pressure on USSF and CONCACAF to get on board and get this thing done? I’m pretty sure most every soccer fan in the USA would love to see this happen. I’m sure CONEMBOL is hoping that pressure from USA soccer fans will push this past the final hurdles. Brilliant political move by CONEMBOL in my opinion.

    • XPK says:

      arrrgh…I mean CONMEBOL…all three times

    • solles says:

      probably giving conmebol too much credit…

      • Felix says:

        I bet there’s more to this than you believe solles.
        If anything, these soccer officials at confederation level are good ‘politicians’. I’m sure they believe public pressure from within will help them on the negotiating table.

  13. Joey says:

    Im concerned that FIFA will not approve of the tourney and be hesitant to force clubs to release players. When else in history has a made up tourney been sanctioned besides Confederations cup? Another roadblock I potentially see is that the Olympics are that summer as well how does that hurt potential player selections from countries trying to win gold.

    • Joey says:

      Even with the under 23 selections I fear teams like Brasilia and Argentina will select 3 of their best to fill the overage spots and therefore they would not be sent to Copa America.

  14. oscarinfw says:

    Will this tournament fall on FIFA dates where club teams are obligated to release their players ?

    Not sure about the timing: How does this affect Gold Cup and selection for the Confederations Cup ?

    I would want to see the full US National team participating, but last time we played in the Copa America, it was a “B” team since the club teams were not obligated to send players (did I mention we got trashed in that tournament and dis-invited for follow on Copa Americas because we sent a poor team ?).

    THis would be a wonderful showcase for soccer in the USA if the all teams sent full-strength teams provided the USA does not embarrass itself against CONMEBOL competition.

    Also, forget about the MLS teams and what this will do to the rosters; most of the best US national team players are playing overseas as it is. FMF may have issues as well but they are more “forgiving” of giving up players for the National team. The other CONCACAF teams could have multiple MLS players on their teams (e.g. the current Jamaican team) but it will still be good for both CONCACAF and MLS.

  15. big poppa says:

    I agree. The tournament would be awesome for us fans and should happen as long as the confederations hash out the numbers. What a great idea.

  16. AcidBurn says:

    It is still undecided whether to host the tournament in the US or in Qatar. Heard the money might be good in Qatar.

  17. Felix says:

    I love how some people here automatically want to blame USSF or CONCACAF. That CONMEBOL is some benevolent organization free of such base needs like financial gain or of incompetence.
    Of course this whole thing is about money and we’d all like to see it (speaking as a USMNT fan myself). But there’s logistical things at play here that some here are completely ignorning.

    1) will this special edition Copa America be FIFA-sanctioned. If it isn’t, than the clubs in Europe will not want to release their players for this (especially considering the Copa America will be held the year prior in Chile. If there’s no Neymar, Messi and whomever else will be a massive star at that time, this tournament gets real lame real fast.

    2) how do you decide whom the other four invitees will be. The talk has been around the top 4 in the ’15 Gold Cup, but since CONCACAF isn’t in agreement, I imagine this hasn’t been completely agreed upon. Perhaps some would like a seperate qualifying process, based on regional tourneys or FIFA rankings.

    3) since there’s a strong chance that this could run concurrently with the Euro ’16, would big sponsors want to dole out the type of money required. Will they offer less since the two tournaments will essentially be competing with each other. Which plays into #4.

    4) when will the tournament be held in the summer. I imagine FIFA and the big wigs at UEFA would not want this happening in June/early July when the Euros will be happening, and with lucractive pre-season tours occuring later in the summer, there’s isn’t a large window to put this one if you want to appease UEFA, clubs, sponsors and FIFA itself.

    5) and obviously the big gorilla in the room – money. How are they dividing up the money here. Is SUM involved? TV rights, stadium revenue, etc. There’s potentially a sizeable pot of gold here, being the largest soccer event to be held in the US since the WC’ 94. You can’t assume these two confederations, with all of the above in mind, can sit and agree to this without some protracted and difficult negotiations.

    • whoop-whoop says:

      Thanks for the mature, sober, intelligent response…. makes a nice tamp for the emotional, premenstrual hysterical outbursts.

  18. Rex says:

    “It first must be confirmed that New England with host a game.”
    –Sunil Gulati