Next year's Copa America Centenario will go ahead in the United States, organizers said Friday, ending speculation the scandal-tainted tournament would be staged elsewhere.
Officials from US Soccer confirmed they would act as the local organizing committee working alongside regional governing bodies in staging the tournament from June 3-26 in venues across the United States.
The 2016 event is a one-off being staged to mark the 100th anniversary of the Copa America. But doubts surrounded the tournament after it featured in the US-led corruption probe that has rocked global football.
American prosecutors alleged that more than $110 million in bribes had been paid to officials in football's North American governing body, CONCACAF, and South American counterpart, CONMEBOL, to secure the license to sell lucrative sponsorship and media rights for the event.
US Soccer noted in a statement that both CONCACAF and CONMEBOL had taken back their broadcast and sponsorship rights from Datisa, the firm whose accounts were frozen as part of the global football corruption probe.
"The Confederations will issue a Request for Proposals (RFP) publicly to ensure transparency and accountability in the selection of new commercial partners," statements from the US federation, CONCACAF and CONMEBOL said.
"To ensure there is a transparent governance structure in place to oversee the management and execution of the tournament, all three parties agreed to create a new Executive Committee to govern the event," the organizers said. "The Committee, which will be made up of two representatives from CONMEBOL, two
representatives from CONCACAF, and one representative from US Soccer, will oversee policy decisions for the tournament and facilitate greater financial transparency regarding funds collected for broadcasting and sponsorships."
The tournament will feature six teams from CONCACAF, and all 10 teams from CONMEBOL: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela.
From CONCACAF, host USA and Mexico are automatic qualifiers, while Costa Rica (2014 Copa Centroamericana winner) and Jamaica (2014 Caribbean Cup winner) qualified this year.
The final two teams will be determined through a playoff in the near future.
- Greater accountability -
CONMEBOL and CONCACAF issued a joint statement hailing the cooperation between the organizing parties to stage an "historic football event."
"We are extremely happy for our fans, our teams and our partners that we were able to find a way to host the Copa America Centenario celebration in the United States under an entirely new structure for managing the tournament's operations and finances," the regional bodies said in their statement.
"The improved governance structure will bring greater accountability and transparency to the event so it can serve its two intended purposes -– to celebrate the 100 years of history of Copa America and provide a once in a lifetime spectacle for fans in the CONCACAF and CONMEBOL regions."
Venues for the tournament have yet to be determined, although US Soccer said more than 40,000 fans have already signed up to receive ticketing information.