Uruguay FA Calls U.S. based Copa America a “Mistake

Copa America Centenario

by ANTHONY J. MERCED

Uruguay Football Association president Wilmar Valdez has made some damning comments that are making people take notice.

In short, Valdez says that the Copa America Centanario tournament in the United states was a “mistake.”

“CONMEBOL made a mistake by holding a tournament of this scope, a cup with some of the oldest national teams in the world and in South American football, in the United States,” said Valdez in a radio interview with Sport 890 in Uruguay. “Here yesterday (Sunday) it became obvious to me that this tournament is pretty much put together with Mexico in mind.”

Several factors have led to Valdez’s frustration, including the University of Phoenix Stadium staff playing the wrong national anthem before his team’s game against Mexico — a mistake which the event organizers publicly apologized. That was followed by a 3-1 loss to Mexico whom Valdez claims the tournament is favoring. A hard-fought game by both teams saw the match even after 74 minutes. Two goals in the last five minutes was the difference as both teams saw players sent off with red cards.

Valdez went on to call the United States “a country where they don’t feel football.” Valdez does, however, recount nearly being sprayed with beer by rowdy fans in what is not the first complaint against the Mexican national team fanbase here in the United States.

“It pains me to say it and I take full responsibility as a member of the CONMEBOL executive committee,” said Valdez. “I think we made a mistake and CONMEBOL made a mistake. This may be a great Copa from a marketing and ‘show’ standpoint, but for South American football it is another thing.”

This opinion flies in contrast to what we’ve heard with the Copa America potentially finding a home in the United States permanently. US Men’s national team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann is very much in favor of the confederations working together to make the tournament’s home the United States. “The format for us and, speaking on behalf of Mexico and Costa Rica, would be huge for CONCACAF’s top teams,” he said.