ERIC WEIL in BUENOS AIRES: The Copa America is the world’s oldest existing international football competition though its essence was diluted by the decision to invite countries from outside South America.

The only reason for inviting ‘outsiders’ was the one which has wrecked competitions in many other sports – to widen the TV coverage which means more money.

But those invited countries often turned up with weakened teams, because the Gold Cup played in North America, which is similar to the America Cup, was played practically at the same time.

Now, after having been talked about for a long time, a tournament for countries from the entire American continent has finally been arranged for 2016 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Copa America.


Some 16 countries will take part — all 10 from South America plus most Gold Cup winners United States and Mexico plus four others from a qualifying tournament in central America and the Caribbean.

One problem is that in the eternal battle between club and country and an overloaded fixture list this would be yet another year in which players of leading countries would be training and playing in the middle of the year which is the close season in Europe – starting with last year’s Confederation Cup, this year’s World Cup, next year’s regular Copa America followed by this new tournament — so when do internationals have a rest?

European federation UEFA and its clubs will surely complain. That battle has not started yet.