By Paul Nicholson and Samindra Kunti

April 9 – Conmebol will finally decide where it intends to play its 2020 Copa America this week – the competition is also being played this summer in Brazil and is switching its staging to even numbered years in 2020.

Current thinking would have the competition co-hosted by Colombia and Argentina, but doubts over logistics and hosting capabilities remain and Conmebol’s Council still has to formally approve the hosting plan.

So far only Colombia has formally submitted a hosting plan, Argentina is still to do so. At the same time, by choosing to keep the competition in South America in 2020 the Conmbeol nations are rejecting a $200 million offer from the US (which guarantees a minimum $4 million per nation) to play in the US in 2020, whether it is in an official Copa America competition or a differently named friendly tournament.

Conmebol president Alejandro Dominguez had surprisingly rejected the proposal from US Soccer almost as soon as it was offered and without referring to his members. The offer was actually made to the national federations and copied to Conmebol and Concaaf – Concacaf have expressed their support for the event in the US, as has FIFA privately, according to USSF president Carlos Cordeiro.

In rejecting the US offer – which would expose the USSF to more than $400 million of risk – Dominguez cited the primacy of its continental tournament and that by awarding the tournament to Colombia and Argentina, the co-hosting format would break new ground for the tournament.

“A decision was taken that the tournament would be played in two regions: in the northern and southern part of South America,” said Conmebol president Alejandro Dominguez. “They’d be Colombia and Argentina, but now all of this has to be taken to the Council.”

Conmebol’s decision was conditional, requiring both prospective hosts to submit the blueprint of their plans. So far, only Colombia has formalised its candidature as the Colombian government stepped in last week to back and endorse the country’s 2020 hosting credentials. Cali, Medellín, Bogotá and Barranquilla were proposed as host cities.

Argentina has failed to formally nominate host cities, even though the current thinking is that  the country would be expected to stage the tournament’s marquee games, including the final. The Argentinean inertia has cast doubt over its commitment to the tournament as the country grapples with another economic crisis.

Today Conmebol officials will meet behind closed doors to discuss the 2019 and 2020 editions of the tournament in what promises to be a busy week of football politicking ahead of the 70th Conmebol congress on Thursday in Rio de Janeiro.

Last week Cordeiro told Insideworldfootball that the offer to the South Americans to play in the US in 2020 was still open but that the window of opportunity was closing fast as the sales windows of opportunity in the US market, particularly for broadcasters, would start to close in May.

Infantino in town for Congress

FIFA president Gianni Infantino has also flown in to attend the inauguration of the new CBF president Rogerio Caboclo on Tuesday. The FIFA boss last visited Brazil in 2016 during the Olympic Games when Marco Polo Del Nero was still in command of the CBF. Infantino is expected to once more beat the drum for his proposal to expand the 2022 World Cup in Qatar to 48 teams, one iteration earlier than planned, and which was oringially proposed  y Conmebol’s Donminguez..

Brazil will also stage the Copa America this summer in a 12-team format with Japan and Qatar as invitees. From 2020 onwards Conmebol intends to stage the finals every four years to bring the tournament in line with the global football calendar and the European championship.

Contact the writers of this story, Paul Nicholson and Samindra Kunti, at moc.l1554854558labto1554854558ofdlr1554854558owedi1554854558[email protected]1554854558osloh1554854558cin.l1554854558uap1554854558.


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Paul Nicholson