The 2016 Copa Centenario, a special edition of Copa América celebrating 100 years since its first edition, was slated to take place in the United States from June 3-26, 2016. But recent statements made by Paraguayan CONMEBOL president Juan Ángel Napout cast doubt on whether this will really happen on U.S. soil.
Napout didn’t question whether the Copa Centenario is happening; the whole thing has already been approved by FIFA (whatever that means these days), but what’s up in the air is the U.S. and CONCACAF’s participation. Six teams were programmed to participate in the tournament.
Apparently, more than 100 million dollars were given out in bribes to secure the tournament.
So perhaps it’s understandable that the tournament might no longer be coming to the United States, and that’s terribly disappointing. Just think what we’re missing!
The FIFA scandal hit CONCACAF and CONMEBOL heavily, as senior officials are currently under fire. The best example of this is Jeffrey Webb, the former CONCACAF president who is currently on trial in the United States for corruption charges. Ironically, Webb pleaded not guilty and paid his $10 million-dollar bail. Just to prove how absurd and shameless soccer officials can be these days, a man accused of receiving millions of dollars in bribes is going back to court to defend himself of corruption charges, but only after paying a $10 million dollar bail backed by luxury cars and jewelry. Yes, this is really happening.
The problem for fans is that current CONCACAF officials are afraid of getting close to things signed under Webb’s presidency, and the Centenario tournament definitely reeks of corruption. And nobody wants to sit next to the stinky guy.
So due to all the mismanagement and corruption, we will probably miss out on the first real Copa América, which would include the best teams of both American continents.
Hopefully CONCACAF and CONMEBOL officials can sort this out, as a Copa América in 2016 really makes no sense after one just happened in Chile this summer. But there is still a lot to see, especially with the trials happening in the United States, where new information about mismanagement and corruption will surely emerge.
So while world soccer organizations sort out their shit and undergo a cleansing and renovation, U.S. soccer fans will probably be really disappointed. Instead of watching the best North and South American teams fight for a championship next summer, we will only get to see the worst officials fight for their freedom.