The U.S. is inching closer to hosting the 2016 Copa America Centenario, according to a source with knowledge of the negotiations. A final decision expected in the next three weeks.
The U.S. Soccer Federation's role as host has been uncertain ever since the Department of Justice indicted 14 soccer and marketing officials last May on corruption charges, with officials of CONCACAF, CONMEBOL, and South American sports marketing firm Datisa all implicated.
The USSF wanted assurances that the tournament would be conducted with complete transparency with regard to all contracts related to the competition.
That essentially meant the removal of Datisa from having any role related to the tournament's commercial rights, which has proved difficult due to the fact that Datisa had already sold some of the commercial rights to third parties, including Televisa.
But over the last several weeks, the various parties have met to resolve their differences. CONCACAF, CONMEBOL, and Datisa held meetings in both Mexico City and Miami. Last week CONCACAF, CONMEBOL, and the USSF all met in New York and the source indicated that progress is being made.
"Everyone that needs to be involved is walking down the same path," said the source.
A U.S. Soccer spokesman declined to comment.
Time is running short, however, as the USSF will soon need to line up various venues throughout the U.S. to host the tournament.
Datisa was formed as a joint venture that included Traffic Sports, Full Play, and another Argentine company, Torneos y Competencias. Datisa acquired the rights to the 2015, 2016, 2019, and 2013 Copa Americas for $318 million.
Datisa later acquired CONCACAF's share of the commercial rights to the Copa America Centenario as well. Due to those indictments, Datisa's assets have been frozen by U.S. investigators.
Since 2007, Copa America has been held every four years, with the latest edition having been held last June in Chile. The Centenario is designed to celebrate the 100-year anniversary of the formation of South America's governing body, and was set to include six nations from CONCACAF in addition to the 10 countries that comprise CONMEBOL.