Despite CONMEBOL rejecting a proposal from the U.S. Soccer Federation for an expanded Copa America in 2020, USSF president Carlos Cordeiro says that the invitation to host the tournament "is still valid."
Both CONMEBOL and CONCACAF had been engaged in discussions over the past year about holding another combined Copa America, similar to the hugely successful version hosted by the U.S. in 2016. But with the talks making little headway, the USSF sent letters to CONMEBOL, COMNEBOL's member federations and CONCACAF proposing a new international men's tournament that it called the Continental Cup 2020.
The USSF's proposal would have seen it host and underwrite the entire event, and similar to the 2016 Copa Centenario, all 10 CONMEBOL member associations as well as six CONCACAF countries would take part. Excluding prize money, the USSF said it would guarantee CONMEBOL and its teams a total of $90 million. In addition, each team would then stand to make a minimum of $4 million in prize money with more money being awarded to teams that progressed deep into the tournament.
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But on Wednesday, CONMEBOL announced not only that it had "rejected expressions of interest and proposals received by the United States, Australia, and commercial agencies Dentsu and IMG," but that it had provisionally awarded the hosting rights for the 2020 tournament to Argentina and Colombia. CONMEBOL said the joint bid was way of "bringing South American football to the fans" though a more detailed presentation by both countries would be required.
Following the 2019 edition of the Copa America, which will be held in Brazil, CONMEBOL opted to hold another edition in 2020. It is CONBEBOL's intention to hold the tournament every four years thereafter in a bid to align it with the European Championships. The 2020 edition is expected to have 16 teams and, according to Reuters, Mexico and the U.S. would be among the invitees.
Speaking to ESPN FC via telephone ahead of a gathering of the FIFA Council in Miami, Cordeiro expressed hope that further discussions could be had with CONMEBOL about the USSF's proposal.
"Our invitation is still valid. No doors are closed as of yet," he said via telephone. "We would like there to be an open, honest conversation about ways in which our two confederations can all come together about the long-term viability of an event that we can play in each other's territories over many years.
"It's not about what we call it and who runs it. It's about growing the game for our fans and our players. We think there is a significant opportunity here that we want to take advantage of."
Even if CONMEBOL proceeds with its plans for Argentina and Colombia to host the 2020 Copa America, the USSF is expected to forge ahead and host its own tournament that summer, though it will likely be smaller than the 16-team tourney it proposed to CONMEBOL. There is a gap in the calendar for the U.S. men's team, and the same is true for teams from Asia and Africa. One requirement is that the tournament will need to be put on FIFA's calendar so that players will be released by their clubs and allowed to participate.