Another obstacle in the way of Copa America Centenario taking place in the United States in 2016 was cleared Friday. CONMEBOL, the governing body of South American soccer, announced that Argentine company Datisa no longer will be involved in distributing sponsorship or broadcasting rights for the tournament.
U.S. investigators froze Datisa accounts as part of a Justice Department investigation into corruption in global soccer. Copa America Centenario, set to be a joint tournament between the 10 members of CONMEBOL and six representatives of CONCACAF, was initially announced as taking place in summer 2016 in the United States. But many officials balked at that idea with scrutiny about the transparency of major tournaments at a record high in light of the investigation and subsequent arrests of senior soccer officials.
An ESPNFC report indicated one of U.S. Soccer's conditions to hosting the tournament was the removal of Datisa from all portions of the tournament, a process complicated by the fact that some sponsorships and media rights already had been sold with Coca-Cola and Mexican TV giant Televisa among those already making buys. But it appears those differences have been worked out and a hurdle cleared for the tournament to take place on American soil.
"All the sponsorship and broadcast rights related to the Copa America Centenario will be ceded to CONMEBOL effective today," a CONMEBOL statement read.
"The South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) and Datisa S.A. (Datisa) inform that the agreement for commercial rights relative to the Copa America Centenario will be rescinded with immediate effect," it continued. "CONMEBOL and Datisa have agreed to rescind all the commercial rights in possession of Datisa for the sale of sponsorship and rebroadcast rights associated with the Copa America Centenario.
"CONMEBOL will assume the aforementioned commercial rights while, together with CONCACAF and U.S. Soccer federation, they are going to identify new partners to commercialize and sell the commercial rights for the tournament using a new and transparent process."
In addition to the 2016 tournament, Datisa also was sold the rights to the 2019 and 2023 Copa America tournaments.