Talks for another joint Copa America 'beyond preliminary' - Montagliani
MILLBRAE, Calif. -- CONCACAF president Victor Montagliani says that negotiations with CONMEBOL for another combined Copa America are "beyond preliminary" though the earliest one could take place is 2020.
The two confederations joined forces to put on the Copa America Centenario last summer, and it was a big success both on the field and at the gate. The Copa's average attendance of over 46,000 was more than enough to satisfy tournament organizers. The television ratings on Univision and Fox -- at the time, the semifinal between the U.S. and Argentina was the most watched men's match in the history of FS1 -- also spoke to the appetite for the tournament, and there were enough compelling matches to keep fans' interest.
A U.S. Soccer Federation spokesman confirmed that the federation is open to discussing the possibility of hosting the tournament again, and given the money involved it's easy to see why. A recent report by the USSF that was made public at its most recent Annual General Meeting revealed that the organization made $46 million in profit from hosting the tournament.
"We've had those discussions with CONMEBOL because I think it makes sense," said Montagliani, in an exclusive interview with ESPN FC. "We're not talking about joining the confederations, but I think it behooves us to take a serious look at having another combined tournament."
Montagliani added, "The discussions aren't at the final stages or even halfway, but it's beyond preliminary."
Both confederations are attempting to move on from the scandal-plagued years that saw executives from both entities caught up in the FIFA corruption scandal. Montagliani and CONMEBOL counterpart Alejandro Dominguez have each been engaged in reform efforts for their respective confederations, and Montagliani said his "excellent" relationship with Dominguez increases the likelihood that a deal will get done.
That said, Montagliani said that many of the challenges that were encountered in putting on the Copa America Centenario would be present again in a new version. Room for the tournament would need to be found on FIFA's calendar, and clubs with players who would participate would also need to be consulted.
"It's not as easy as saying, 'Hey, let's have a tournament.' There are a lot of moving parts," said Montagliani. "How does that affect our own Gold Cup, how does it affect their Copa America? Their next Copa America is in Brazil in 2019. Our next Gold Cup is in 2017 and then again in 2019. Nothing will happen before that, but I think there are some serious opportunities there after 2019."
Jeff Carlisle covers MLS and the U.S. national team for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreyCarlisle.