U.S. Soccer Invites South American Teams for Rich New Tournament in 2020

U.S. Soccer has invited South America’s 10 soccer federations to deliver their nationwide groups to the United States in 2020 for a brand new intercontinental championship that will run concurrently with that summer season’s European Championship.

The supply, a bundle that features nearly $200 million in ensures to the invited groups and their governing our bodies, was made Tuesday in a letter from U.S. Soccer’s president, Carlos Cordeiro, to his counterparts on the 10 South American federations. For the previous yr, soccer officers throughout the Americas have held discussions about making a quadrennial match involving nationwide groups from each continents, however with no settlement in sight, U.S. Soccer, wanting to fill a niche in the worldwide soccer calendar and bearing an attractive nine-figure supply, is now proposing to ascertain its personal.

In the letter, Cordeiro mentioned U.S. Soccer was providing to underwrite the brand new occasion and assure every nation — and each confederations — tens of millions of in look charges, backed journey and bonuses for every level earned. The champions may take residence a prize of greater than $11 million. Cordeiro has invited the South Americans to a gathering to debate the proposal subsequent week in Miami.

The proposed 16-team match would resemble, in construction although probably not in identify, the 2016 Copa América Centenario. That match, a relocated model of the South American championship — expanded to rejoice the occasion’s 100th anniversary — introduced the 10 members of the South American confederation, Conmebol, to the United States for a month to face off not solely towards each other, but additionally a half-dozen opponents from Concacaf, the regional confederation made up of North and Central America and the Caribbean.

That match was thought-about a sporting and — maybe extra necessary — a monetary success, and was won by Chile, which beat Argentina in a penalty-kick shootout in the final in East Rutherford, N.J. The new event would take place in June and July next year.

The proposed 2020 tournament would again include all 10 South American teams, plus six from Concacaf, and would most likely feature a group stage and then a knockout round to determine a champion. U.S. Soccer’s role in the offer, and Concacaf’s consent, would be critical to making the event happen, since both would have to approve any plans to hold such an event in the United States.

Concacaf released a statement Tuesday night acknowledging receipt of Cordeiro’s overture and expressing support for its broad strokes: “We view this opportunity positively as it is not intended to replace or substitute any future editions of the Concacaf Gold Cup and it complements our vision to continue providing opportunities for our Member Associations to play competitive football at the highest level.”

In his letter, a draft of which was seen by The New York Times, Cordeiro took pains to emphasize that the new event would be a singular tournament, and not meant to replace existing events like the Copa América or the Gold Cup, which would continue separately. Conmebol, which will contest this year’s Copa in June and July in Brazil, said last year that it was planning to shift the Copa América to a quadrennial schedule starting in 2020, to coincide with UEFA’s European Championship. Concacaf holds its own regional championship, the Gold Cup, in odd-numbered years; this year’s Gold Cup matches will be played in the United States, Costa Rica and at least one Caribbean nation.

For next summer, though, Cordeiro is proposing a larger, intercontinental event in the United States. The event could fill a gap in the global soccer calendar — at the moment, the Euros are the only major championship scheduled for that summer — but despite the millions being offered, it is unclear how South American and Conmebol officials will react to a tournament that would conflict with their Copa América plans.

The Copa América has included guest teams for years; Mexico and the United States have participated in it several times, and this year it will include Japan and Qatar.

For the United States, though, the event could have several positives. FIFA is expected to choose the dozen or so host cities for the 2026 World Cup in the next two years, so the tournament could be a chance for the 17 finalists to make their case for inclusion. It also would offer meaningful competition for the United States men’s national team as it heads into qualifying for the 2022 World Cup; that process began later than hoped because the search for the team’s head coach, Gregg Berhalter, was delayed, first by the World Cup bid and then by the search for a general manager to run the national team program. Hired in December, Berhalter has coached only two friendlies to date as he prepares for this summer’s Gold Cup.

If the proposed tournament with Conmebol does not come to fruition, U.S. Soccer could still press ahead with a new event, possibly a scaled-down tournament involving teams from other continents.

Source link Nytimes.com

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