Talk Centers On North American Clubs Entering The Copa Libertadores
The possibility of North American football clubs entering future Copa Libertadores competitions was one of the main topics when tournament organizer South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) hosted the president of the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCAF) for a meeting last week, according to GOAL.com.br. CONMEBOL Communication Dir Nelson Benítez confirmed the meeting. Benítez: "CONCAF leaders came to São Paulo to see the Libertadores final and the atmosphere was a more favorable opportunity to speak on the subject. There were conversations and there are previsions for more meetings." CONMEBOL President Nicolás Leoz "would be in favor of the presence of North American teams." If the tournament did expand to include teams from North America, "revenues from marketing could increase substantially." The main downside of such a move is that "teams would have to travel long distances" for games. In some cases, players could face 10-hour flights. Another "big problem" is the lack of transparency with the Libertadores due to the fact that no club has any idea how much money CONMEBOL receives from sponsorships. In the '11-12 season, Libertadores champion Santos FC received R$7.3M ($3.6M) for the title, while FC Barcelona won R$118.3M ($58.1M) from UEFA for its Champions League win. Those numbers are "at the least very suspect (GOAL.com.br., 7/14).