The stars will be out when the 2016 Centennial Copa America rolls around.
FIFA announced on Friday that its executive committee voted in favor of adding the tournament to its international calender. Th decision means that all clubs will be required to release players called up for the competition that runs from June 3-26 in the United States, allowing national teams to field their best squads.
“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 in a statement. “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.”
Added CONMEBOL president Juan Angel Napout: “Knowing that Copa America is the oldest national team tournament in the history of football, it is an honor for us to have the event officially included in the international calendar and be able to celebrate the 100th anniversary of this event and the foundation of CONMEBOL."
The tournament, which will mark the 100 year anniversary of the Copa America, will consist of 16 teams. The 10 nations from the South American region will be joined by the United States and Mexico, both automatic qualifiers, and 2014 Copa Centroamericana winners Costa Rica. The final three teams to partake in in the event will be determined in November's Caribbean Cup and next year's Gold Cup.