U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati shot down rumors of combining the Gold Cup and Copa America for one major soccer competition in the Americas.
An ESPN Deportes report Monday stated that CONCACAF and CONMEBOL are putting the finishing touches on agreeing to merge the two major tournaments on a permanent basis, with the competition being held in the U.S. every four years. The report suggests the new tournament would mean the elimination of the Gold Cup and Copa America in their current forms.
Gulati denied that the creation of any such event had been discussed by CONMEBOL and CONCACAF officials, much less close to being finalized. He called the reports suggesting as much "completely inaccurate."
"There have been no discussions about future events with U.S. Soccer and FIFA, or CONCACAF and CONMEBOL about this," Gulati said Tuesday. "I made sure that, in order to make the second part of that statement, that I talked to (CONCACAF president Victor Montagliani) yesterday. He's had no discussions with anybody at CONMEBOL about it.
"There is nothing imminent, no plans, no discussions have taken place," Gulati said. “Having said all of that, could there be discussions about it? Sure, but nothing has happened to date."
According to Gulati, the Copa America Centenario has exceeded all projections for the event from a business standpoint, with average attendance for matches surpassing 40,000 (as compared with an average of 19,000 for the 2015 Copa America in Chile). That success surely has officials from CONCACAF and CONMEBOL considering creating a similar event that could take place every four years.
Gualti wouldn't rule out the possibility of some sort of event being created in the future that might be similar to the current Copa America Centenario but made it clear there are no talks to do away with the current Copa America or Gold Cup, which was the implication of the initial report.
"This is the Centenario for Copa America, but if we were thinking about a combined event in the future it wouldn't have to be a Copa America," Gulati said. "It would be some new created event where it might be an equal number of teams for example, where all those things that are specific to Copa America wouldn't necessarily be in place.
"This is a specific event, 100th anniversary, approved on the FIFA calendar and so on," Gulati said. "What we might talk about for a future event would for a new event."