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Jan 6, 2014

2016 Copa America talks ongoing

A report in Spain says a bid to have the 2016 Copa America hosted by the U.S. is back on, but a source within CONCACAF has called the report "premature" and indicated there are plenty of details still to be worked out.

If the planned 2016 Copa America is not approved by FIFA, the world's best players, like Brazil's Neymar and Argentina's Lionel Messi, may not play.

The Marca report echoes many details of the prospective tournament that first came to light last year.

The tournament will be called the Copa America Centenario and is intended to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the formation of CONMEBOL, the governing body of South America. The tournament will be expanded to 16 teams from the usual 10, with the additional sides coming from CONCACAF.

Marca added that the venues have already been chosen and include the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., Stanford Stadium in Palo Alto, Calif., MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., the Citrus Bowl in Orlando Fla., RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C., and Houston's Reliant Stadium.

Yet a source within CONCACAF pointed out that an agreement between CONCACAF and CONMEBOL would need to be hashed out before an official announcement can be made, and that is far from final.

"There is still interest in getting the 2016 Copa America done between CONCACAF and CONMEBOL; the conversations are ongoing," said the source. "However, there's really no resolution or final agreement done yet."

Among the details to be agreed upon are commercial rights, television rights, the issue of operational authority in stadiums, as well as whether any stadium upgrades will be needed.

Then there is the significant issue of gaining FIFA approval. Without FIFA’s blessing, clubs would not be obligated to release players for the tournament, and likely would not given that World Cup qualifying would also be going on.

Without the presence of the best players, the tournament would lose much of its luster. At present, the issue hasn't even been placed on FIFA's calendar so it can be brought to a vote.

"I don’t know if we're at the point of pushing this through FIFA," said the source. "I think there are conversations between both [CONCACAF and CONMEBOL] that need to take place."

The two confederations can also expect some pushback from UEFA in that Euro 2016 is also stated to take place around the same time, and the game's power brokers in Europe will likely not want to see attention -– not to mention television and sponsorship dollars –- diverted from that competition.

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