The Gold Cup may not be exclusively the United States' tournament anymore. CONCACAF president Jeffrey Webb told the Associated Press that maybe it is time to move the region's championship competition from the U.S., which has hosted every single Gold Cup played (they twice co-hosted with Mexico).
"I think the Gold Cup should not always be in one country," Webb said. "It's the best tournament in the area and all members should be able to receive the best prize that is this tournament. The decision to have it in the United States has been solely for financial reasons."
And let's be honest, Webb is right.
The only reason the U.S. continues to host is for financial reasons. The U.S. has the sponsors, the stadiums and the multi-cultural population that ensures respectable crowds no matter which teams plays. But that doesn't make it fair from a sporting standpoint.
Of course, that is a narrow way to look at things. The money that CONCACAF rakes in from the Gold Cup on U.S. soil is distributed to the member associations, allowing them to reinvest in the sport domestically. Is another country hosting the Gold Cup for the sake of fairness really better for the sport in the region than giving poor countries more money to build the sport? That is what the confederation will have to consider.
If CONCACAF choose to move the Gold Cup, it will be a blow to the Americans' on-field chances in the tournament. Even if the U.S. still plays in stadiums where there are more fans rooting for the opposition in the tournament, it is miles better than it would be in another country, and it also comes with the comforts of being in a nation where you are used to the living situation and norms. That's not to say the U.S. couldn't still win the tournament, but playing it on American soil has helped, and that would be gone.
The obvious choice to host the Gold Cup if it is not the U.S. would be Mexico. Canada would also be in the mix and they could use it as both a test run for a possible future World Cup and a chance to show that they can handle a major tournament (the U-20 World Cup and Women's World Cup are also doing that).
Being just a 12-team tournament, there doesn't need to be a ton of stadiums to host either. Copa America has been hosted with as few as five venues as recently as 1999 so Costa Rica, Guatemala and Honduras could host as well, although political, safety and accommodation issues could be problems.
Right now, the possibility of the Gold Cup leaving the U.S. is just that -- a possibility. But something that would change the dynamics of region, and it's worth the conversation.