An agreement to switch dates with Brazil will see Chile host the 2015 Copa America. As Brazil prepares for both the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympic Games, Chile proposed an agreement to swap dates with Brazil, so that they would be hosts of the tournament in 2019.
Each country hosts the tournament every four years, in alphabetical order. The most recent tournament was held in Argentina, where Chile made a disappointing exit in the quarterfinal against Venezuela. Uruguay will defend their title and bring home another victory.
President of the ANFP Sergio Jadue said in a press conference, “With emotion, pride and joy, I have the privilege to announce that after 24 years, Chile will host the 44th Copa America.” Organizers in Brazil have been criticized for their slow pace in preparations for the World Cup, particularly the breakdown of negotiations in regards a law about selling alcohol in the stadiums.
Chile first hosted the event in 1920, and again in 1941. While it was then known as the South American Championship, this was the first reason for the expansion of Estadio Nacional. In order to celebrate the 400th birthday of Santiago, the stadium was expanded to a capacity of 70,000. The legendary goalkeeper Sergio “Sapito” Livingstone was named as Player of the Tournament in this edition. Chile most recently hosted in 1991, the same year Colo Colo took the Copa Libertadores tournament.
The tournament is the oldest tournament of its kind, predating the World Cup which began in 1930. Coach Claudio Borghi noted, “The players will have reached a great level and age by that time.” Many of the players in the current squad are in their early twenties and have many years remaining in their career. ”El Bichi” added, “Chile has always wanted to win the competition and we will have a great chance to claim the trophy,” although he would not confirm if he would still be at the helm of La Roja. “There is an eternity between now and then, the first task is the World Cup qualifiers,” the Argentine coach said.
Brazil has recently seen a change at the top of their football administration, with former president Ricardo Teixeira leaving his position after years of allegations of corruption. While Teixeira remains adamant that Brazil will host the tournament, today’s announcement by the ANFP makes him look like the fool.
The Copa America won’t be the only tournament coming to Chile in 2015. Chile will also host the under-17 World Cup. Following the 2014 South American Games in Santiago, Chile can expect a range of upgrades to sporting facilities throughout the country. Chile is also in the process of bidding for the 2019 Pan-American Games.
In the most recent friendly match, a squad of domestic based players were too strong for Peru in Arica, winning 3-1. The second stage of the Copa del Pacifico will take place in Tacna, Peru on April 11th.