Praise for Copa America Centenario, but hard to repeat

Fri Jun 24, 2016 7:09pm EDT
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By Larry Fine

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The troika running the Copa America Centenario proclaimed the soccer tournament a rousing success on Friday heading into the final weekend of the special event hosted by the U.S., but would not commit to a regular arrangement.

    The 100th anniversary of the world's oldest international soccer tournament was a cooperative effort between South American confederation CONMEBOL, and CONCACAF, representing North America, Central America and the Caribbean, with U.S. Soccer organizing the competition.

    "We were able to bring whole continents together," CONMEBOL president Alejandro Dominguez told a Manhattan news conference through an interpreter.

    "Fair play, good games, an average of almost three goals per match, very good behavior by the public ... integrating cultures for people to live together and respect diversity."

    Sunil Gulati, the U.S. Soccer president and head of the Local Organising Committee, pointed with pride to the massive average turnout of 46,000 per game, nearly 1.5 million in all.

    "What I said at the start of the tournament was our base line was at 30,000 (per game). We thought 35,000 would be great, 40 would be beyond our wildest expectations and obviously where we ended up is fantastic.

    "These are World Cup numbers for an event organized in seven months with 16 teams," Gulati said.

    Dominguez said "from any point of view it has been a success" and that he was open to new ideas about further collaborations.   Continued...

Jun 6, 2016; Santa Clara, CA, USA; Sunset at halftime of the game between Argentina and Chile during the group play stage of the 2016 Copa America Centenario at Levi's Stadium. Argentina defeated Chile 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports