MEXICO CITY: The prospect of the Copa America Centenario being shifted from the United States to probably Mexico moved a step closer with the absence of US Soccer delegates from an organisational summit in Mexico City.
Last Friday Juan Angel Napout, president of the South American confederation CONMEBOL, insisted that the US would continue as host, as planned, despite delegates within his own executive committee considering the US a legal no-go zone while the FIFAGate investigation remains very much alive.
Some 14 senior football oficials and marketing directors were indicted in May on corruption charges concerning the misuse of $150m generated by commercial contracts in both North and South America.
Very few senior officials of CONMEBOL even travelled to Chile in July for this year’s Copa America for fear of extradition applications and thus consider travelling to the US next year as out of the question.
The Copa America Centenario is being organised under the joint auspices of CONMEBOL and the central and north American governing body, CONCACAF, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the game’s oldest surviving national team tournament.
Talks behind the scenes about shifting the tournament have been undertaken already with Datisa, the television rights-holding company created by Brazil’s Traffic and Argentina’s TyF.
The contractual arrangements between CONMEBOL and CONCACAF mean a continued preference for the tournament to be staged in central or north America.
Mexico would appear to be the only possible alternative although a spokesman for the FMF was insisting yesterday that the prospect had not been discussed formally.
The tournament is scheduled for a 16-team format with all 10 South American nations plus six CONCACAF teams.
Already confirmed from CONCACAF had been Costa Rica, Jamaica, Mexico and the United States. The other two teams are due to be decided by play-offs between Panamá and Cuba as well as between Trinidad and Tobago and Haiti.
If the US is not to be the host then the participation of its team may come into question.