CHICAGO: Venues for the controversial Copa America Centenario have been named by the South and North American confederations, CONMEBOL and CONCACAF.
The 10 are: Bay Area, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, New York/New Jersey, Orlando, Philadelphia, Phoenix, and Seattle.
The tournament will mark the 100th anniversary of the initial South American championship, the oldest surviving national team tournament in the world game. It will be played between June 3-26 though its staging had been in doubt for some time because of the ongoing FIFAGate investigation being run by the US Department of Justice.
Senior officials of both CONMEBOL and CONCACAF have been implicated in a $150m bribery scam concerning commercial rights to international football competitions in the Americas.
Some 24 cities originally submitted bids. The stadia had to possess minimum seating capacity of 60,000.
“These 10 cities and venues will provide a fantastic setting for fans across the world to attend Copa America Centenario and allow them to see the amazing passion for soccer in the United States,” said US Soccer president Sunil Gulati.
“The participating teams and fans will be treated to a first-class environment in each city and stadium, adding to the world-class talent that will be competing on the field. We are looking forward to working closely with all of the cities and venues in hosting this prestigious event and creating an extraordinary experience for fans.”
From CONCACAF, host United States and Mexico are automatic qualifiers, while Costa Rica (2014 Central American Cup winner) and Jamaica (2014 CFU Caribbean Cup winner) qualified with regional championships last year.
The final two teams from CONCACAF will be determined in a double-header playoff set to be disputed Jan. 8, 2016, in Panama City. Trinidad & Tobago will face Haiti, and Panama squares off against Cuba with the winners qualifying for the Copa America Centenario.
The South American field for the tournament features Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela. Uruguay has been crowned champion of the Copa America a record 15 times, while Chile won its first title at this past year’s edition, which it hosted.
Bay Area (Levi’s Stadium)
Chicago (Soldier Field)
Foxborough (Gillette Stadium)
Houston (NRG Stadium)
New York/New Jersey (MetLife Stadium)
Orlando (Orlando Citrus Bowl Stadium)
Pasadena (Rose Bowl)
Philadelphia (Lincoln Financial Field)
Phoenix (University of Phoenix Stadium) and
Seattle (CenturyLink Field).