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CONMEBOL determined to go ahead with centenary Copa America

CONMEBOL is jointly organising it with CONCACAF, its counterpart for North, Central America and the Caribbean, and said that the two confederations would meet next Thursday in Mexico City to discuss their plans for the tournament.

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“Both organisations are maintaining their firm intention to go ahead with the tournament to celebrate 100 years of the founding of the South American Football Confederation,” said CONMEBOL in a statement.

The original plan was for the tournament, officially known as the Copa Centenario, to be played in the United States, featuring all 10 South American national teams, plus six from the CONCACAF region.

However, the plans were thrown into disarray when United States authorities indicted 14 football officials and sports marketing executives on corruption charges at the end of May.

The core charges focussed on the alleged payment of bribes to secure commercial and broadcasting contracts for major tournaments in the Americas, including the Copa Centenario.

Seven of the 14 were arrested at a luxury Zurich hotel two days before FIFA’s annual Congress, plunging football’s governing body into the worst crisis in its 111-year history.

Those included Eugenio Figueredo and Jeffrey Webb, who at the time were the respective CONMEBOL AND CONCACAF presidents.

Figueredo is still in a Swiss prison while extradition proceedings continue and Webb has already been extradited to the U.S. and been released on bail, having pleaded not guilty.

Media reports have suggested that one option is to stage the tournament in Colombia with fewer teams than originally planned.

(Reporting by Daniela Desantis; Writing by Brian Homewood in Berne; editing by Sudipto Ganguly)

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