The Copa America Centenario might not be a one-off after all. But if there is another one, don't expect it to carry the "Copa America" moniker.
On Monday, a report on ESPNDeportes.com that cited CONCACAF sources claimed that South American soccer officials were considering holding the Copa America in the United States every four years and incorporating national teams from CONCACAF. But a day later, that report was quashed as "completely inaccurate."
US Soccer Federation president and CONCACAF Council member, Sunil Gulati, told a gathering of media members on Tuesday night in Chicago that "there have been no discussions about future events with US Soccer or between CONCACAF and CONMEBOL about this."
"I made sure that in order to make the second part of that statement I talked with Victor [Montagliani, CONCACAF president] yesterday. He’s had no discussions with anyone at CONMEBOL about it. So, there is nothing imminent, no plans, no discussions have taken place. Having said all of that, could there be discussions about it? Sure, but nothing has happened to date. [The report] is completely inaccurate.”
But that's not to say that Gulati wouldn't entertain discussing a completely new competition involving national teams from both continents.
“If we were thinking about a combined event in the future, it wouldn’t have to be a Copa America," Gulati said. "It would be some new created event, where there might be an equal number of teams [from both CONCACAF and CONMEBOL confederations], for example, or all of those things that are specific to Copa America wouldn’t necessarily take place. This [Copa America Centenario] is a specific event, 100th anniversary, approved on the FIFA calendar, and so on. What we might talk about for a future event would be a new event.”
A championship for South American national teams has existed since 1916 and it was rebranded as the "Copa America" in 1975. The 2016 Copa America Centenario, organized to commemorate the 100-year anniversary of the competition, represents the 45th edition of the tournament.
Nations from North and Central America and the Caribbean (CONCACAF) have crowned a champion 23 times since 1963 and beginning in 1991, this tournament has been called the CONCACAF Gold Cup.
"I’d totally be up for that one," US manager Jurgen Klinsmann told media on Monday when asked about the ESPNDeportes.com report of a potential joint Copa America tournament every four years. "I think that would huge for our region to play every four years the Copa America and the format that is played right now would be for us and I’m sure speaking on behalf of Mexico and Costa Rica as well, that would be huge for the CONCACAF teams. It would be huge to have that type of competition every four years for us to grow. To compete with these top nations from South America would be absolutely fantastic."