Copa America Centenario is on. CONMEBOL has confirmed that the tournament will be played despite speculation that FIFA corruption and the indictment of several senior officials would see it canceled, but they are not sure if it will be played in the United States or if CONCACAF teams will participate, as had previously been planned.
"We want to do it," CONMEBOL president Juan Angel Napout said on Wednesday. "The 100 years are important and we have to celebrate. (The Copa) is on the official FIFA calendar and that is valued very highly."
The tournament was originally envisioned as a celebration of Copa America's 100th anniversary and a way to crown a champion of all of the Americas. In addition to the 10 South American teams that always compete in Copa America, the U.S., Mexico and four more teams from CONCACAF would be included to make for a 16-team tournament. It would also be played in the U.S., meaning a huge payday for everyone involved.
However, many of the figures involved in the planning have been arrested, including former CONCACAF president Jeffrey Webb and Eugenio Figueredo and Nicolas Leoz, both of whom were ex-CONMEBOL presidents. After 24 cities submitted bids to host the tournament last year, it was announced that the 10-12 host cities would be announced in May, but that has yet to come. Meanwhile, several reports claim that CONCACAF is weary of going forward with the tournament.
"Originally, we want to keep going with what we've done, keep going with CONCACAF but we understand the moment they are going through and we are not going to force anyone to do anything," Napout said.
"What I can assure you is that the 100 years will be celebrated and that is going to be on the pitch."
Napout is set to meet with CONCACAF officials later this week to discuss the tournament. So far, no one from CONCACAF has said where the confederation stands on Copa America.
So Copa America Centenario is on. It will be played from June 3-26, as originally planned and is on the FIFA calendar so it will have all of the best players from each country. But that's only the case for South America. As for CONCACAF, that's still a mystery.