‘No Sporting Justification’: South America Rejects Biennial World Cup

File photo:  The World Cup winner’s trophy is seen during the 68th FIFA Congress at the Expocentre in Moscow on June 13, 2018. Kirill KUDRYAVTSEV / AFP

 

South American football’s governing body CONMEBOL hit out at FIFA proposals to stage the World Cup every two years on Friday, saying there was “no sporting justification” for shortening the window between tournaments.

In a strongly worded statement which echoed opposition to the proposals by European football’s ruling body UEFA, CONMEBOL said holding the World Cup every two years would diminish the quality of the tournament.

“A World Cup every two years could distort the most important football competition on the planet, lowering its quality and undermining its exclusive character and its current demanding standards,” CONMEBOL said.

“(It) would represent an overload that is practically impossible to manage in the international competition calendar.

“In the current conditions, it is already complex to harmonize times, schedules, logistics, adequate preparation of equipment and commitments.

“The situation would be extremely difficult with the proposed change. It could even put the quality of other tournaments, both club and national, at risk.

“There is no sporting justification for shortening the period between World Cups.”

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Fifa To Make Decision On Biennial World Cup ‘By End Of Year’ – Infantino

CONMEBOL said that although it had previously been open to holding the World Cup more frequently, technical analysis had show that the proposals were “highly unviable.”

“Therefore, under current conditions, it ratifies its support for the current World Cup model, with its terms and classification mechanisms, considering it consistent with the spirit that animated those who conceived and founded this competition,” the statement said.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino promised this week there would be decisions by the end of the year on the proposed World Cup overhaul, which is part of a move to cut out what he called “too many meaningless matches”.

However the FIFA proposals have drawn broad opposition across football, with UEFA chief Aleksander Ceferin saying the plan would “dilute” the World Cup and the World Leagues Forum saying it would “undermine” player welfare.

AFP

CONMEBOL Announce Brazil As New Copa America Host

(FILES) In this file photo taken on December 03, 2019, Brazilian former footballer Juninho Paulista presents the Copa America trophy on the stage during the draw of the Copa America 2020 football tournament at the Convention Centre in Cartagena, Colombia. Juan BARRETO / AFP

 

South America’s largest football tournament, the Copa America, was moved Monday to Brazil after a Covid-19 surge in Argentina and social unrest in Colombia saw the co-hosts stripped of the right to host the event.

With two weeks to kickoff, South America’s CONMEBOL football federation tweeted that “The CONMEBOL Copa America 2021 will be played in Brazil!” and the June 13-July 10 dates were maintained.

CONMEBOL is expected to announce the venues and dates of matches in the coming hours.

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File photo: Brazil’s Dani Alves (C) and teammates celebrates with the trophy after winning the Copa America after defeating Peru in the final match of the football tournament at Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on July 7, 2019. Carl DE SOUZA / AFP

 

Brazil hosted the last Copa America, in 2019.

Originally scheduled for last year, the Copa was postponed by 12 months due to the coronavirus epidemic.

New host Brazil is one of the countries in the world worst affected by the outbreak, with the second-highest death toll of over 460,000 so far and more than 16.5 million cases.

It was to have been the first time in its history that the tournament would be co-hosted by two countries, Argentina and Colombia.

But ten days ago, CONMEBOL stripped Colombia of its duties amid street protests that were met with a heavy-handed police response that drew international condemnation. More than a month into the unrest, dozens of people have died.

On Sunday, CONMEBOL also stripped Argentina of hosting rights in the context of a record coronavirus surge, with more than 77,000 deaths in the pandemic to date and nearly 3.8 million infections.

AFP

CONMEBOL: Messi Fined $50,000, Banned For Three Months

(FILES) In this file photo taken on July 02, 2019 Argentina’s Lionel Messi gestures during the Copa America football tournament semi-final match against Brazil at the Mineirao Stadium in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. Pedro UGARTE / AFP

 

Argentina star Lionel Messi was banned from playing for his national team for three months and fined $50,000 on Friday by CONMEBOL after he heavily criticised the South American football governing body during the Copa America.

The 32-year-old Barcelona forward had accused CONMEBOL of “corruption” after he was sent off against Chile during the third-place play-off during the tournament in Brazil, which ended last month.

Messi was angered by two incidents during the June-July Copa hosted by bitter rivals Brazil.

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Argentina were denied two penalty claims in their 2-0 semi-final defeat to the hosts, after which Messi claimed Brazil were “managing a lot in CONMEBOL these days.”

And when he was harshly dismissed in the next game, which Argentina went on to win 2-1, he couldn’t contain his anger.

“Corruption and the referees are preventing people from enjoying the football and they’re ruining it a bit,” Messi said.

He was given his marching orders after a first-half scuffle with Chile captain Gary Medel in which television pictures suggested he’d done little wrong.

The CONMEBOL statement on its website didn’t specify why Messi was being punished but said it was related to articles 7.1 and 7.2 of its disciplinary regulations.

One such clause refers to “offensive, insulting behavior or making defamatory protests of any kind.”

Another clause mentions “breaching the decisions, directives or orders of the judicial bodies.”

The ban means only that Messi will miss a handful of friendly matches as Argentina’s next competitive fixture is not until the South American qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar begin in March.

However, he has already received a one-game ban from CONMEBOL for his red card against Chile meaning he’ll miss the first of those.

Argentina have two friendlies lined up in the United States in September against Chile and Mexico and another in October away to Germany.

Messi would miss all three of those but be free to play for his country again in November.

South America Football Bosses Fire Back At Messi Jibe

 

South American football governing body CONMEBOL hit back at Argentine superstar Lionel Messi on Saturday after he accused the body of corruption.

Messi reacted after he was sent-off during Argentina’s 2-1 victory in the third place play-off against Chile earlier in the day.

The five-time Ballon d’Or winner was involved in a tangle with Chile captain Gary Medel in which Messi appeared to do nothing wrong, but both players were given their marching orders by referee Mario Diaz de Vivar.

“It’s unacceptable that as a result of incidents that are a regular part of competition … unfounded and untrue accusations have been launched that call into question the integrity of the Copa America,” said CONMEBOL in a statement posted on its social media accounts.

READ ALSO: Messi Blasts Copa America ‘Corruption’ After Red Card

Earlier, Messi was scathing in his attack on CONMEBOL and the competition’s referees after Argentina felt aggrieved for the second match running.

He even accused the governing body of favoring hosts Brazil.

“Corruption and the referees are preventing people from enjoying the football and they’re ruining it a bit,” said the global star.

“I think there’s no doubt that Brazil are going to be champions. The Copa is weighted towards Brazil,” he added.

Argentina felt they were denied two clear penalties in their 2-0 defeat to Brazil in the semi-finals, complaining that the referee for that game, Roddy Zambrano, had refused to consult VAR to check the validity of their claims.

And again Argentina were angered that Diaz de Vivar refused to consult with the video assistance to check the incident between Messi and Medel.

Messi had shoved Medel in the back as the Chile captain shepherded the ball out of play.

Medel reacted furiously, chest bumping Messi a couple of times and seeming to push his head towards the Argentina captain, who didn’t react.

Yet both were dismissed by Diaz de Vivar.

Messi said his red card was “repercussions” for criticisms he expressed after the defeat to Brazil.

“These accusations are a lack of respect to the competition, to all footballers participating and the hundreds of professionals at CONMEBOL, an institution that since 2016 has been tirelessly working to improve transparency, professionalism, and development of South American football,” said CONMEBOL.

The governing body said that “a fundamental pillar of fair play is accepting results with loyalty and respect.”

Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni had earlier said of Messi’s red card: “I still don’t understand what Messi did to be dismissed.”

2030 World Cup: Argentina, Chile, Paraguay And Uruguay Relaunch Bid

The president of the South American Football Confederation (Conmebol), Paraguayan Alejandro Dominguez (middle row, 5-R), team managers, referee directors and medical staff pose for the official picture of the first edition of the Conmebol Managers’ Summit at Conmebol’s headquarters in Luque, Paraguay, on March 19, 2019.
Norberto DUARTE / AFP

 

Argentina, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay relaunched their bid to host the 2030 World Cup following a meeting of their presidents in Buenos Aires on Wednesday.

The four national presidents committed to creating a local organizing committee with a representative from each country to coordinate with CONMEBOL, South American football’s governing body.

The first meeting will be in Buenos Aires on April 8.

They also decided to distribute the opening match, two semi-finals and final between the four potential hosts.

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Argentina and Uruguay originally announced their intention to submit a joint bid in 2017 before Paraguay joined the coalition later that year.

Chile was added to the joint candidacy last month while Bolivia, led by football-mad President Evo Morales, has also shown an interest in forming part of the bloc.

Argentina’s Mauricio Macri, Sebastian Pinera of Chile, Paraguay’s leader Mario Abo and Uruguay president Tabare Vazquez met with CONMEBOL chief Alejandro Dominguez on the margins of the UN summit on South-South cooperation in the Argentine capital.

“We want to consolidate this idea and start to work on delivering the objective that the World Cup in 2030 is played here in the country and in the continent where it was born,” Dominguez told AFP.

The first ever World Cup in 1930 was played in Uruguay, with the hosts beating neighbours Argentina 4-2 in the final.

The South American bid faces competition from Morocco and potentially several other joint bids, including one from Britain and Ireland and another by an eastern European confederation of Greece, Serbia, Bulgaria and Romania.

“We know that we’re up against tough competition, which is why we have to start working as soon as possible,” said Macri.

Alongside Uruguay, both Chile, in 1962, and Argentina, who claimed a first world title on home soil in 1978, has also previously hosted the sport’s global showpiece.

The host is due to be decided during the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. The winning 2026 bid was also a team effort. The tournament will be held in the US, Canada and Mexico.

The 2030 edition should feature 48 teams from the six continental unions, whereas the inaugural World Cup was contested by just 13 teams from three regions.

Even so, Vazquez said this challenge will be “much less difficult than what it meant to assume 100 years ago” the responsibility of organizing the very first such event.

AFP

Chapecoense Plane Investigation Extends To CONMEBOL

Chapecoense Plane Investigation Extends To CONMEBOL Prosecutors from Brazil, Colombia and Bolivia say their joint investigation into the tragic plane crash that killed most of the Chapecoense soccer team could expand as far as to the CONMEBOL regional soccer governing body.

The plane crash sent shock waves through the global soccer community with messages of support and solidarity coming in from around the globe.

Chapecoense players, backroom staff and officials were among the victims when the flight carrying the team to the Copa Sudamericana final against Atletico Nacional crashed in Colombia last week.

Brazilian prosecutor, Wellington Cabra, said that they could look into how the small Lamia Charter Company got authorization to charter soccer teams like Chapecoense and others.

These announcements come after authorities detained the chief executive of Lamia on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Chapecoense defender, Alan Ruschel, who was one of six people who survived the deadly plane crash that killed 71 people, is recovering well.

He has also confirmed he would soon be back in brazil.

In a video released by the hospital where he is being treated, the Chapecoense defender could be seen walking around his hospital room and thanking supporters.

Ruschel was reported to have undergone spinal surgery after the crash and doctors told media he was progressing well.

The football world has united in its support for the Brazilian Serie A side, with numerous clubs and players having offered to help in the wake of the tragedy.

Barcelona have invited Chapecoense to play in the Joan Gamper trophy next season to pay tribute to the 71 people who died in the tragic air disaster.

Brazilian Club Chapecoense Awarded Copa Sudamericana Championship

chapecoense-of-brazilsThe governing body of South American soccer has awarded Brazilian club Chapecoense, which lost most of its players in an air crash last week, the Copa Sudamericana championship.

In a statement on Monday, CONMEBOL said it awarded the title “as a posthumous homage to the victims of the fatal crash that leaves our sport in mourning.”

It said the decision was reached after directors of Atletico Nacional, the club side billed to play against Chapecoense, asked it to award the Brazilian side the title.

CONMEBOL also awarded Atletico Nacional its Fair Play award.

Nineteen of Chapecoense’s players were killed in the crash just outside Medellin, Colombia, as the team headed to the first of two matches against Colombian club Atletico Nacional to determine the champion of the Copa Sudamericana — Latin America’s No. 2 club tournament.

chapecoense-plane-crash

As the winner, Chapecoense qualifies automatically for next season’s Copa Libertadores, the continent’s top tournament.

This also means that Chapecoense will face Atletico Nacional — the defending Copa Libertadores champion — in an emotion-charged two-game series next year between the continent’s two club champions.

Chapecoense is likely to field a team next season of borrowed players from other clubs.

A chartered plane carrying top-tier Brazilian soccer team Chapecoense to the biggest game in its history crashed in the Colombian mountains, killing over 60 people on board.

Dozens of bodies were laid out and covered with sheets around the wreckage of the BAe 146 aircraft, which was lying in mud near La Union, a small town outside Medellin.

The plane went down about 10:15 p.m. on November 28 with 72 passengers and a crew of nine. It was unclear what caused the crash, although local media said the plane had reported an electrical fault shortly before it disappeared off radar screens.