The FIFA Fallout’s Local Impact

June 3, 2015

The long overdue FIFA shakeup’s impact extends locally beyond the high level acknowledgment that the Sounders and Reign play in leagues sanctioned by the USSF, within the CONCACAF region, which operates directly under FIFA. Amongst those reportedly involved and arrested are some of the soccer and marketing executives who are arranging to bring Copa America Centenario to the U.S. next summer.

That’s the 100th anniversary of the Copa America, and this anniversary edition tournament is to include the U.S., Mexico, Costa Rica and Jamaica joining the ten CONMEBOL members. The final two spots for the tournament will got to the best two finishers of this year’s Gold Cup that have not already qualified. Though it will be competing with next summer’s Olympics soccer tournament, the Centenario is a big deal. And while CONCACAF nations have competed as guests in nearly every recent edition of the biannual tournament, this is the first time Copa America will be played outside of South America.

Seattle is thought to be strongly considered as a site for games, and if that happens, it will be a bigger event than the Gold Cup games the city has hosted previously due to the level of competition and number of sporting tourists. But the Centenario is now considered to be in doubt due to the dubious manner in which the marketing rights to the tournament were awarded. FIFA is deservedly getting its day of reckoning, but amongst the sleaze, a unique event with a probable positive local economic benefit may be lost. So yes, an early morning hotel raid in Zurich can impact Seattle.