Report: U.S. could withdraw as host of Copa America Centenario
U.S. Soccer could withdraw as the host of the 2016 Copa América Centenario over concerns regarding the tournament’s ties to the FIFA indictments handed down earlier this summer, reports The New York Times.
Multiple sources close to U.S. Soccer also told the Times it is “probable” the U.S. men’s national team would also not participate in the tournament if it is not the host. The fate of the Centenario will be discussed at a meeting between CONCACAF and CONMEBOL, the confederation overseeing soccer in South America, on Thursday in Mexico City. Officials from U.S. Soccer are not expected to attend.
The Copa America is typically held every four years, but the Centenario would feature 10 South American teams and six from CONCACAF.
CONMEBOL wants the centennial edition of the tournament held in the U.S. According to the Times and Sports Illustrated’s Grant Wahl, U.S. Soccer wants to be protected in the event additional CONMEBOL officials are arrested.
In May, three people associated with CONMEBOL were indicted following the U.S. Department of Justice’s investigation into the widespread corruption of international soccer: CONMEBOL executive committee member and Venezuelan soccer federation (FVF) president Rafael Esquivel; FIFA vice president and former CONMEBOL president Eugenio Figueredo; and former CONMEBOL president and FIFA executive committee member Nicolás Leoz.
Current CONMEBOL president Juan Ángel Napout told the Associated Press earlier this week that he supported playing the Centenario in the U.S., and that the “only topic” of Thursday’s meeting would be playing the tournament in the country.
Officials from CONCACAF and U.S. Soccer have not officially commented on the status of the tournament, which was first added to FIFA’s official calendar with the U.S. as the host last September.