U.S. Soccer: Copa America Centenario will go on despite arrests
U.S. Soccer released a statement Thursday saying that the 2016 Copa America Centenario will go on as planned, despite the arrests of CONCACAF president Alfredo Hawit and CONMEBOL president Juan Angel Napout.
Hawit and Napout were among a number of FIFA officials arrested early Thursday morning by Swiss authorities, The New York Times reported.
The statement also indicated that Hawit and Napout “were never in a position to make decisions that would adversely impact” the standards of the 16-team tournament, as the new Executive Committee did not include them in its governance.
The statement in full is below:
Today’s events involving individual members of CONCACAF and CONMEBOL in no way pierce the integrity of the rigorous safeguards the United States Soccer Federation required before agreeing to host Copa America Centenario that ensure the tournament is organized and conducted in a way that is open, transparent and above reproach. The new Executive Committee that was created to govern the tournament does not include these individuals and they were never in a position to make decisions that would adversely impact those high standards. As the LOC for the tournament, the United States Soccer Federation remains fully focused on the organization and operation of Copa America Centenario, and conducting the tournament in the most professional and highly principled manner possible.
Hawit was named acting president of CONCACAF after previous president Jeffrey Webb was charged with racketeering, money laundering and fraud by the U.S. Department of Justice in May.
More than a dozen people are expected to be charged in the new round of arrests that took place at the Baur au Lac hotel in Zurich, according to The Times. Current and former leading soccer officials will reportedly face a variety of corruption charges.
The 2016 Copa America Centenario is scheduled to take place from June 3 to 26 in 10 venues across the United States.