The forthcoming Copa America is a useless tournament.
Admit it. At the first time you’ve heard that this tournament is going to take place in the United States, your eyebrow had jumped up a bit. What reason in the world can take South America’s primary football event, the world’s first national teams’ tournament, on its historical centennial year, to be played at a country without any real football (I mean soccer, of course) tradition as the USA? And why is it useless?
The main reason this tournament will be played in Texas and Massachusetts and not in Guayaquil, Cuzco or Montevideo is simple – money. A lot of it, and illegitimately transferred.
After huge doubts over the event during 2015, with marketing and TV rights were changing hands between few companies, it already smelled a bit ‘fishy’. Only on October 23rd last year, just eight months before the first kick off, it was finally decided it will take off as planned. The brilliant blog SOCCER POILITCS: A Discussion Forum about the Power of the Global Game, had an insightful piece about the matter, and the numbers are simply frightening. The Copa America competitions are always involving bribe and the Copa America Centenario even more.
If that’s not enough - rumors of Argentina is pulling out of the tournament due to governmental intervention in its association. It’s happening for years, and everywhere. If it’s in Argentina, it’s in every other country in the continent. And if that’s the case - stop the tournament.
Copa América 2015, Copa América 2016. What for?!
This tournament is harming the branding of the Copa América. A year ago we had a historical tournament in Chile, where we’ve seen a new South American champion celebrating emotionally. At the stadium where Chile won the cup, people were summarily executed and tortured during the Pinochet regime over the 70's and 80's. And put the rumors about money the referees got aside.
Let the people breath. Let them enjoy the history they’ve been watching, don’t grind the Copa America brand. It has its history and heritage, c’mon.
Neocolonialism with a bit of Symbolism, or Integration?
So what is it? The USA had never have been a good football (I mean soccer) nation. Their ongoing efforts to implement football in to their sports market and audience are becoming pathetic, but extremely successful. With the number of Latin American residents and citizens living in the US, it was a matter of time until the Fútbol will have its impact and fan base at Uncle Sam’s living room.
The question is – is it coming from a genuine love and passion for the game, or just as a fake effort to open another market for the most consumerist nation on earth? Or is it a cultural neocolonialist behavior of the US, trying to finally beat the Latin Americans in the only sports they are still better than the North Americans? Or is it a natural development of cultural identity in the American continent? I guess it is a mix of all of them. Whatever it is, you can’t denied it – A Copa América tournament taking place in the US has a dramatic symbolic value in the continent’s North and South relations.
Absences and Injuries
Having such a tournament a year after year has its price. Many players arrive exhausted after two seasons of between 80 to 100 matches, and a run of two seasons in a row with the Copa that was played last summer. Neymar won’t play after an agreement with Barca and the Brazilian FA to play the Olympics only. Douglas Costa won’t be there for Brazil as he is injured. Lucas Bigilia, one of the best defensive midfielders in Europe won’t be there for Argentina, because of injury. Keylor Navas from Costa Rica too. Pablo Aguilar of Mexico the same, and list goes on. Why there’s a need to ‘kill’ the players? They need the rest in order to keep up their level. If they are not in a 100% conditions for playing, the audience won’t be enjoying too. Make the celebration in a year from a now in a South American country, if you want to mention the centennial year of the tournament, but don’t harm the players for god sake.
Yes to Pan-American Cup, but not over the Copa América
Don’t get me wrong. I am in favor of an All-American, Pan-American or Inter-American Cup. I think it is a great idea that will benefit for all nations who will be taking part in it; But not instead or under the name of the Copa América. This tournament started in 1916, before the European Championships and before the Mundial. Its tradition must be cherished and cultivated, and not being sold in order to make a profit of a certain market.
The Copa America Centenario in his current format, is a useless event. It shouldn’t be taking place, but I will still watch it. Why? Because it is the Copa América, because I haven’t missed a tournament since 1999, and because I want to see the Fútbol and the Futebol teaching the ´Soccer´ a lesson.