CONMEBOL president Juan Angel Napout has told Argentine radio that the 2016 Copa American Centenario will be played in the United States, potentially providing clarity after months of speculation about the future of South America’s upcoming competition.
In a Tuesday interview, Napout confirmed to AM 950 in Belgrano, Argentina, that the tournament was still scheduled to take place as planned despite doubts which surfaced after spring raids on a Swiss hotel led to the indictments of 14 individuals associated with FIFA, including CONCACAF president Jeffrey Webb and Costa Rican executive committee member Eduardo Li. Corruption alleged in the FBI’s investigation left the tournament, a cooperative effort between CONMEBOL AND CONCACAF, in doubt.
Napout used Tuesday’s radio interview to confirm CONMEBOL’s plans remain unchanged.
¨We spoke with CONCACAF about the things that were in place for the past few years, that the tournament will take place in the United States and alongside CONCACAF,¨ Napout said, claiming media ooutlets had speculated about alternative scenarios that had not been discussed by the confederation.
¨The most normal thing in football here is to find out through the media about things I didn’t say,” the former Paraguayan federation president explained.
Napout’s response contradicts recent reports in the Argentine press saying the tournament will be moved to Colombia or Ecuador. Chile has also been mentioned as a potential host nation, with AS Chile reporting that the country which put on this summer’s Copa America could host a relocated tournament.
Brazil, originally scheduled to stage the 2015 Copa America, will welcome the 2016 Summer Olympics to Rio de Janeiro, leaving the last World Cup host free of Centenario speculation.
“The U.S. is capable of hosting a World Cup tomorrow if they are asked to do it,” said Napout, asked about whether this tournament would change venues.
“We are [in discussions] and there has been a great deal of goodwill shown in order to get things done,” said Napout. “The announcement will be made official soon.”