By Samindra Kunti
February 19 – U.S. Soccer president Carlos Cordeiro (pictured) has questioned the future of the Concacaf Gold Cup, revealing the tournament may be shuttered in the near future. Speaking at the annual U.S. Soccer general meeting, Cordeiro said that the FIFA Confederations Cup won’t be played again and that the biennial Gold Cup also could be discontinued.
The Confederations Cup was introduced in 1997 by FIFA and from 2005 onwards served as a warm-up tournament for the hosts of the World Cup, but the competition had never fully captured global attention in the international calendar and last year FIFA revealed that they looking at plans to do away with the Confederations Cup.
FIFA has remained coy about revealing any further details, but Cordeiro confirmed that the Confederations Cup has been killed off. “It’s done and over with,” said Cordeiro. “In place of Confederations Cup there will be intra-continental playoffs to get to that 48-team (World Cup).”
Cordeiro’s suggestion that the Gold Cup could face a similar fate will come as a disappointment to many Concacaf federations whose national team aspirations don’t realistically go much further than this competition.
“The Gold Cup is only legislated for this year and 2021, so it could go on but it may not happen,” said Cordeiro.
The admission was surprising as Concacaf expanded the tournament from 12 to 16 teams for the 2019 edition that will be played in North America this summer. The ruling body has also announced that it is exploring staging matches outside of North America. Ever since 2000, the biennial tournament has featured 12 teams, but in a bid to have a more pan-regional footprint and bigger revenue streams Concacaf decided to expand the competition’s format.
Concacaf and Conmebol have discussed revamping the Copa America into a bigger and more lucrative tournament, but those talks have repeatedly broken down. This year’s Copa America, hosted by Brazil, will have 12 entrants with Qatar and Japan as invitees.
“There have been talks in the last year between Conmebol and Concacaf on a kind of combined Copa America, but they haven’t been able to come to an agreement on that,” said Cordeiro.
The U.S. Soccer president also weighed in on the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. FIFA president Gianni Infantino has incessantly been pushing for an expanded 48-team format and Cordeiro cited ‘strong forces’ that want to enforce the format, but admitted that Qatar alone would not be able to handle the logistics of a 48-team finals.
“On the men’s side, that decision will be made on March 15,” said Cordeiro. “There are forces – strong forces at FIFA – who wanted to go up to 48 as quickly as 2022, including the president.”
“Qatar has accepted that they don’t’ have the facilities, They have eight stadiums, but that’s not enough to run a 48-team tournament. They would have to agree to share with countries that are not the most friendly these days.”
Contact the writer of this story, Samindra Kunti, at moc.l1701976599labto1701976599ofdlr1701976599owedi1701976599sni@o1701976599fni1701976599