U.S. will definitely stage centenary Copa America in 2016

Fri Sep 11, 2015 1:35pm EDT
 
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ASUNCION (Reuters) - CONMEBOL has underlined the 2016 Copa America will definitely be held in the United States, ending media speculation it might be moved due to friction caused by a U.S.-led probe into corruption.

The tournament is to be contested in July by 10 South American teams and six from the CONCACAF region of North and Central America and the Caribbean.

"We have once again ratified the unanimous decision taken at a meeting in August to hold the Centenary Cup in its original format in the United States," South American football confederation (CONMEBOL) president Juan Angel Napout told the Paraguayan radio station Urbana.

The Copa America was first held in 1916 and is the oldest international tournament in the world.

Although it is usually contested every four years by teams from South America, a special centenary version was announced for next year with teams from all over the Americas.

However, doubts about its viability arose after nine current and former soccer officials were indicted for alleged corruption in May.

Former CONMEBOL and CONCACAF officials were among those detained in Switzerland in an operation set off by U.S. prosecutors.

"I was one of those who dreamt of this cup, work has been going on and we have advanced considerably," Napout said. "Now what we need is the goodwill to get it back on track."

Officials from CONCACAF and CONMEBOL will meet in Mexico City on Thursday to discuss planning, he added.

(Reporting by Daniela Desantis, writing by Andrew Downie, editing by Tony Jimenez)

 
Juan Angel Napout, president of the South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) speaks before the draw of the 2015 Copa Sudamericana tournament at the CONMEBOL headquarters in Luque, on the outskirts of Asuncion July 16, 2015. REUTERS/Jorge Adorno