Termination of TV deal clears the path for centenary Copa to go ahead.
Next year’s centenary Copa América Centenario, scheduled to be played in the United States, could get the go ahead after the governing bodies of South America (Conmebol) and North and Central America and the Caribbean (Concacaf) terminated their relationships with the marketing company Datisa.
US federal prosecutors claimed in May that Conmebol, South America’s governing body, reached an agreement in 2013 with Datisa, a newly created company, on a $240m (£155m) contract for rights to the Copa America in 2015, 2019 and 2023. They said Conmebol agreed the following year to a $112.5m (£73m) deal for the centenary Copa america in 2016.
After the US indictment against 14 football executives and marketing officials, prosecutors said Datisa agreed to pay $110m in bribes to South American football officials.
The indictments of those involved in the development of the centenary tournament, Jeffrey Webb, Eugenio Figueredo, José Maria Marin and Nicolas Leoz, meant there was little enthusiasm within the United States to host the finals. However, now that the controversial television contracts have been annulled, the respective bodies are hopeful that the finals can go ahead as planned.
In June, Conmebol treasurer Carlos Chavez stated: “We can’t annul a contract if Datisa has re-sold that contract, or those rights, to legitimate companies.”
But, that impasse appears to have been overcome.
Conmebol said on Wednesday its commercial rights contract in connection with next year’s centenary edition has been terminated. Concacaf said it ended its relationship with Datisa and had reassigned the rights.
Conmebol’s statement reads:
“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Datisa S.A. (Datisa) inform that the agreement for commercial rights relative to the Copa America Centenario will be rescinded with immediate effect.”
“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.”
Concacaf also said it will select new partners who will be chosen in a “new and transparent process.”
Its statement said: “Concacaf and Datisa have agreed to end their relationship for the sale of sponsorship and broadcast rights associated with Copa America Centenario. Concacaf will assume control of its commercial rights while it, Conmebol and their local operating partners identify and select new partners to market and sell the tournament’s commercial rights using a new and transparent process.”