The 2016 Centenary of the Copa America will be played in the United States.
A Miami press conference held by the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) and the South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) revealed the long anticipated announcement today.
The tournament will run from June 3 to June 26, 2016 according to CONCACAF President Jeffrey Webb.
The press conference began at 11.06 am Eastern time with opening remarks by CONMEBOL president Eugenio Figueredo and CONCACAF President Webb.
The Copa America competition will be in its Centenary year in 2016 and will include all ten South American sides including the likes of Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina.
Additionally the United States, Mexico, and four other teams from the CONCACAF region (North and Central America and the Caribbean) are expected to participate. The other seven South American teams will be Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, and Venezuela.
Additional CONCACAF representatives will include the 2014 champion of the Caribbean Football Union -- victor in November’s Caribbean Cup -- and the champion of UNCAF, winner of the Central American Cup scheduled to be staged in the fall of 2014.
The final two CONCACAF teams to earn a ticket to the Centennial Cup America 2016 will be determined by a four-team playoff. The four national teams advancing furthest in the 2015 edition of the CONCACAF Gold Cup that are not the ones already qualified to the Centennial Cup America via the above mentioned criteria (Mexico, the United States, CFU winner and UNCAF winner), will dispute playoff matches to determine the final two CONCACAF qualifiers to the Centennial America Cup.
The teams advancing to the playoff round will be seeded one through four according to their performance in the 2015 Gold Cup. The highest seed will then face the fourth seed, and the second seed will face the third seed in a playoff doubleheader, with the winners of each of those two matches advancing to the Centennial Cup America.
Following introductions in the press conference, Figueredo spoke first about expanding CONMEBOL to join with CONCACAF and uniting the continent by saying: “We are proud to play a leading role in the celebration of the centennial of a tournament born to unite all America. Year after year the Cup has gained prestige, which has allowed the opening of doors to the football of an entire continent. Now, CONCACAF and the United States will play host to the world’s oldest national team competition.”
A short video outlining the history of the tournament followed which revealed that the tournament is coming to the USA.
Webb spoke next and outlined the history of the tournament. He said it will be the biggest sports tournament since the 2002 Winter Olympics.
“I congratulate CONMEBOL for inspiring players and fans throughout a century of fantastic football, and thank them for extending the legacy of this hugely successful event to CONCACAF territory,” said CONCACAF President Jeffrey Webb. “The American continent may have been discovered in 1492, but I can’t imagine a better way to unite this continent than with football and an exceptional celebration of talent in 2016.”
A journalists Q & A followed with questions about host cities and the calendar, none of which unveiled concrete answers.
A question was posed about this being the harbinger of a merger between the two federations. Figueredo did not deny it but waffled about the future and generations in an answer that the English interpreter struggled to make sense of but seemed to indicate that young people will make this happen after his time.
Webb revealed it had been the subject of his first meeting after being elected.
The Cup will run June 3 to June 26 and not compete with the Olympics according to Webb. Finally a group of players including Cobi Jones and Shaka Hislop were introduced.
The 2016 tournament would be a special off-year edition to commemorate the Centenary of the event and would be in addition to the 2015 and 2019 editions.
The Copa America is the world’s oldest intercontinental tournament. Uruguay leads with 15 wins, and is the defending champion from 2011. It is a quadrennial tournament typically played the year after the World Cup.
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