CONCACAF and CONMEBOL in Pan-American championship talks
13 Feb 2012
Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) interim president Alfredo Hawit has revealed that talks are underway to create a Pan-American championship with the South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL).
Such an event would represent a thawing in relations between the two bodies with an 18-team tournament proposed for 2016. Hawit said the Pan-American tournament would be held to celebrate CONMEBOL’s 100th anniversary and would include all 10 South American nations and eight from CONCACAF. “It is important that we can achieve this, and we will fight for it,” he told Mexico’s Mediotempo.com.
Both confederations have extended invitations to national teams outside their boundaries in recent years, while Mexican clubs have competed in the Copa Libertadores since the late 1990s and Major League Soccer franchise D.C. United played in the Copa Sudamericana in 2005 and 2007. However, it has been national team competitions that have caused the most friction with CONMEBOL unhappy at the United States fielding an under-strength team in the 2007 Copa America, while CONCACAF last year forced Mexico to send an Under-23 team to the tournament. CONCACAF stopped inviting South American nations to its Gold Cup in 2007.
However, with the departure of controversial former CONCACAF chief Jack Warner, Hawit believes that stronger ties between the two confederations will boost both the sporting and financial side of the game. He added: “I think we have no choice but to transform CONCACAF.”