Cordeiro keeps door to Conmebol calendar talks open

March 15 – US Soccer president Carlos Cordeiro’s proposal for an expanded 2020 Copa America may have been rejected by Conmebol, but the US football supremo has said that the invitation to host the tournament is still open.

“Our invitation is still valid,” said Cordeiro. “No doors are closed as of yet. We would like there to be an open, honest conversation about ways in which our two confederations can all come together about the long-term viability of an event that we can play in each other’s territories over many years.”

Recent talks between Conmebol and Concacaf over an integrated and expanded tournament broke down over commercial issues and Cordeiro stepped in to fill the gap with a proposal of his own to underwrite a new tournament, sweetened by a $200 million incentive. That didn’t sway Conmebol, who earlier this week awarded the hosting rights of the 2020 Copa America to Colombia and Argentina, the first Copa America to be co-hosted.

The event would have been similar to the centenary Copa America in 2016, a tournament hosted by the United States and won by Chile, and which was considered a major success by both confederations despite its difficult birth in the aftermath of the 2015 US Department of Justice investigation that saw top officials from the confederations indicted.

US Soccer’s guarantee of another cash-rich tournament was not enough to convince Conmebol and its president Alejandro Dominguez, who had swiftly and unilaterally responded to Cordeiro citing the primacy of the Copa America and, somewhat disingenuously, a lack of FIFA approval for rejecting Cordeiro’s proposal.

For Cordeiro it is about looking at a bigger picture for US Soccer. “It’s not about what we call it and who runs it,” said Cordeiro. “It’s about growing the game for our fans and our players. We think there is a significant opportunity here that we want to take advantage of.”

This summer Brazil will stage the Copa America with Qatar and Japan as invitees to complete the line-up of the 12-team tournament. With the 2020 edition allocated to Colombia and Argentina, subject to meeting Conmebol’s hosting requirements, US Soccer may opt to stage its own tournament with invitees from both Africa and Asia as a gap looms in the calendar for the US men’s team.

Contact the writer of this story, Samindra Kunti, at moc.l1558785775labto1558785775ofdlr1558785775owedi1558785775sni@o1558785775fni1558785775