US Soccer proposes joint Americas tournament for 2020

The US Soccer Federation is proposing an international competition encompassing all of the Americas, which would run concurrent to the pan-continental Uefa European Championships in 2020.

The New York Times has seen a letter from US Soccer president Carlos Cordeiro to each of the 10 South American football federations that outlines the plans for the quadrennial tournament. The offer includes just under $200m in guarantees to the invited teams and their governing bodies.

The proposed 2020 tournament would include all ten countries in Conmebol – the South American confederation – alongside six to ten Concacaf nations. US Soccer promises to underwrite the cost of the new event and guarantee each of the competing nations, and both confederations, millions in appearance fees, subsidized travel and performance bonuses.

The new tournament would be similar in structure to the 2016 Copa América Centenario. The Conmebol-organised South American championship was expanded to include six nations from the North and Central American confederation Concacaf to celebrate the event’s 100th anniversary.

The existing relationship between US Soccer and Conmebol is strained at best, and it is believed that the South American countries are broadly opposed to a pan-American soccer tournament.

It is not clear whether the plan proposes replacing other tournaments, although Cordeiro recently suggested that the Concacaf Gold Cup, featuring nations in the North American region could come to an end after this year’s edition and the event in 2021. He also intimated that talks regarding a combined Copa America had already taken place.

“The Gold Cup is only legislated for this year and 2021, so it could go on but it may not happen,” he said. “There have been talks in the last year between Conmebol and Concacaf on a kind of combined Copa America but they haven’t been able to come to an agreement on that.”

After Cordeiro’s comments became public, Gold Cup organisers Concacaf swiftly moved to clarify the status of the competition.

“Following recent media reports, Concacaf clarifies that it is fully committed to the Concacaf Gold Cup and confirms that the 2019, 2021 and 2023 editions are part of the Fifa Calendar,” the statement said.

The plans for the new pan-American tournament come at a time when Fifa is putting forward plans for a global version of the Uefa Nations League that could complicate the International Match Calendar. Uefa’s Professional Football Strategy Council (PFSC), a body that brings the governing body together with the ECA, professional leagues and players, said it would like Infantino to discuss their proposals for the harmonisation of the calendar post-2024 before entertaining his plans.

SportBusiness understands the PFSC is calling for all confederation tournaments to take place at the same time, two years after the Fifa World Cup, allowing a rest period every other summer for the leading players. It is noteworthy that Cordeiro’s plans for the new intercontinental tournament of the Americas would be in step with these plans.