There has been a lot of talk lately about a possible Copa de la Americas, which is something I have been advocating for years. It would be easy to stage: 10 teams from South America and then 6 from CONCACAF.
But then it gets sticky. How are the six teams selected? Where and when would this tournament be played? Does it even need to be played? That is what we are to do. I know we have plenty of tournament savants here at bigsoccer to do the necessary heavy lifting to make this thing a reality. Here is my modest proposal.
The Gold Cup and Copa America should still be staged. The only caveat here is that Copa America is reduced to what it should be: a ten tournament. No more guests. And they can play these when they are played now – a year after a world cup. Winners, of course, get that coveted slot to the Confed Cup.
I would then stage the Copa de las Americas on leap years. I thought before that the best way to add the 6 Concacaf teams was to just use the teams that had made the hex from the previous World Cup qualifying. But a lot can happen in that time span, and it would necessarily be indicative of who are the best teams in the region. So I would then propose that the top 2 teams from the previous Gold Cup groups make up CONCACAF’s 6 entrants.
This would eliminate the need for having to qualify for the tournament on the CONCACAF side, which was a notion that was bantied about. No need to muddle up the calendar further.
I would also have the tournament run concurrently with the Euro. That way, junkies like me would get 4 games of footie a day. Wouldn’t that be fun? But I understand that it probably never happen that way, so I would settle with starting the thing the Monday after the Euro final. 6 weeks of international footie!!
I also understand that South America would be in the midst of its tortuously long World Cup Qualifying Campaign. However, taking into account the last round, they did not play any qualifiers in July, so there is room on the calendar. Concacaf kicks off in June as well, but also do not have any July games. And having both Confederations on board would make this an official tournament.
Where would it be played? The answer is obvious: Nicaragua. Not really. It would make sense to have the first one in the USA because the butts in the seats factor would be a huge income potential. After that, it should alternate from on Confed to the other.
How about the groupings? The seeds would be the top 4 in the FIFA ranking (or better yet, the ELO ratings). And then a real, transparent, televised draw would determine the rest. 4 groups, top 2 advance to the knockouts. Let the teams fall where they may. 3 weeks of games. I am not sure how I feel about extra time in case of ties. I might want to go straight to the PKs.
If this tournament were to become a reality, one of the casualties, hopefully, would be that unnecessary Gold Cup. And Olympic teams might be stripped of a few stars, but I always thought that U20s should play the Olympics anyway.
That is my treatment. If you are hearing what I am saying, is it my mouth that is doing the talking, or something else. I am and have always been a big fan of the international tournaments, so I think it would be great. What do y’all think?