The long-rumored became true on Friday morning, as the centennial edition of the Copa America — officially to be known as the “Centennial Cup America” — will be held in the United States in 2016. Both CONCACAF and CONMEBOL made the official announcement on Friday.
“With its addition to the FIFA Calendar, the historic Centennial Cup America in 2016 is now set to be the most important full national team tournament hosted in the Americas since this year’s FIFA World Cup,” said CONCACAF President Jeffrey Webb. “We want to thank FIFA, all Confederations and all others involved for their unconditional support in this process, making sure that this once in a lifetime celebration was treated with the respect that the players, football fans around the world and participating countries deserve.”
The wait had to happen because FIFA needed to vote to add it to its official calendar in 2016. Without that official status, national teams would’ve had trouble compelling players to appear in the tournament.
Given the 100th anniversary of the Copa America, this is going to be a massive event for fans.
All 10 of the South American countries that usually compete in the tournament will be on hand, while CONCACAF will send six teams to round out the 16-team tournament.
For many in the CONCACAF region, this is exactly what they’ve wanted to see all along. The Gold Cup, which is contested every two years doesn’t have the draw or significance of the Copa America. For fans of teams like the United States and Mexico, this tournament is a chance to really test where they are heading in to the heart of World Cup qualifying.
What will be interesting to see is how this tournament affects the ongoing relationship between the two confederations. Some have even called for a unified governing body, allowing for better competition and a rise in the quality that teams will see in the process.
It’s an interesting move, especially as UEFA national teams begin a move to insulate themselves and compete less against North and South American competition.
Should this tournament be an economic, ratings and competitive success it definetly puts pressure on the two confederations to at least be more cooperative.
As for this exact tournament, here are the teams that will sent to the tournament from each confederation:
Copa America Centenario Participating Teams:
- United States (host)
- Mexico (seeded)
- Costa Rica (2014 Central American Cup champion)
- TBD (2014 CFU Caribbean Cup champion)
- TBD (winner of 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup – if not one of the already qualified teams, or 2015 Gold Cup Playoff 1 winner)
- TBD (2015 Gold Cup Playoff winner)