South American Football Championship, the world’s oldest tournament for national teams. The Copa America Tournament (under this name it has been known since 1975) was established by ten members of CONMEBOL – the Confederation of Football of South America. He is 50 years older than his European counterpart. The Falkland Islands (Malvinas) are not included in CONMEBOL, as well as in any other football organization, as they are a disputed territory between Argentina and Great Britain. The first championship, in 1910, was unofficial (so-called extraordinary). Argentines decided to arrange a tournament with the participation of themselves, as well as teams from Uruguay, Brazil and Chile. The Brazilians at the last moment refused to participate, but on May 29, 1910, the first match of the South American Championship took place in Buenos Aires: the Uruguay national team defeated Chileans 3-0, and the first goal in the history of tournaments was scored by José Pendibene from Peñarol. Seven days later, Argentina beat Chileans even more closely – 5: 1.
Nearly 40,000 people gathered at the Gymnasia club stadium to watch the game of the eternal rivals. But their expectations were deceived – even before the start of the game, the fans set fire to one of the stands, and the match was postponed. A day later, the game still took place at the stadium of the club “Racing”, where only 8000 spectators could see the victory of Argentina with a score of 4: 1. The second tournament, in 1916, was also unofficial – it was held in honor of the 100th anniversary of the independence of Argentina. In the decisive match, Argentina and Uruguay again met, and the Uruguayans took revenge for the defeat six years ago.
From 1916 to 1959 championships were played on average once every two years. Uruguay won six of the first eleven tournaments. Then the Argentines began to take the upper hand: in the period from the 1920s to the 1950s, they were the first in 11 championships out of 18. The Brazilians won the championship four times, and achieved all victories at home. They were unlucky: in the 1960s, when Brazilians were at the peak of their success, only two tournaments were held. The rest of the countries achieved victories only occasionally. The Peruvians won the championships in 1939 and 1975, Paraguay won in 1953 and 1979, and Bolivia achieved the only victory in their native land in 1963. Many countries scorned the tournament. They sent second teams or even youth teams. Only in 1975 all ten countries – members of CONMEBOL took part in the championship.
The countries have been the host of Copa Sudamericana a number of times: Argentina took the championship 9 times, Chile 7, Uruguay 6, Peru 5, and Brazilians who were indifferent to the championship were only four times home. The 1987 tournament was held in Argentina, and the Uruguayans became champions, repeating their success in 1983. In 1989, Brazil took the championship and for the first time in 40 years won first place. In 1991, Argentina won.
The 1993 Championship in Ecuador was different from the previous ones. For the first time, teams from Mexico and the USA were invited to participate. The system of drawing has changed: the teams played in three groups, and eight of them went to the quarterfinals. One of the debutants – Mexico unexpectedly reached the final, where, however, lost to Argentina – 1: 2. Mexico and the United States were invited to the 1995 tournament in Uruguay. And here the Americans have shown disrespect for the owners. They reached the semifinals, where they lost to Brazil with a score of 0: 1. But in the final, the Brazilians lost to the owners, the players of Uruguay. The game ended 1: 1 and Uruguay won 5: 3 on penalties. In 1997, the Brazilians caught up. In the finals in the high mountain La Paz, they beat Bolivia. And in 1999 in Paraguay, they again won the championship, beating the Uruguayans dry.
The Development Department launched in 2017 the Evolución Program, which for the first time in the history of CONMEBOL, has been promoting an inclusive strategy that seeks to enhance the capabilities of all the players in South American football, working on the future of the new generations, creating opportunities, overcoming cultural barriers for the development, growth and consolidation of grassroots soccer, women’s soccer, Futsal and Beach Soccer in all the communities of South America. The Evolution program allows the allocation of financial contributions from FIFA and CONMEBOL for the financial and technical assistance of the 10 CONMEBOL Member Associations, identifying their needs, financing and accompanying training projects, infrastructure, competitions, arbitration, subsidies, governance and management sporty.
This year marks the start of the 2nd edition of the CONMEBOL Football Development League, part of the Evolución Program, with the aim of promoting the practice of football in all places in South America is one of the ten CONMEBOL Member Associations. The Development League is a competition that aims to enable young players and players to deploy and demonstrate all the talent that the continent has that is passionate about football in new categories for Sub 14, Sub 16 Women and Sub 13 Men. For the South American Football Confederation it is very important to keep the feeling and passion for football in each of the 10 countries of South America. This commitment involves all children, women and young people alike, who live and breathe football every day. In this way, we invite all teams from all corners of South America to register and participate in this experience that makes development live, because Evolution is CONMEBOL.
President of the CONMEBOL says that the final in Madrid is “irreversible”
The president of the CONMEBOL, Alejandro Dominguez, guaranteed that the rematch of the final of the Copa Libertadores, between River Plate and Boca Juniors, will be held at the Santiago Bernabéu in Madrid, as decreed by the entity he heads, independent of the official refusal of the millionaire cast to dispute the continental definition in Europe. “If there is something that is clear is that the game will be made in Madrid. That is an irreversible question,” Domínguez said, in statements reproduced by the Argentine newspaper Clarín. In addition, the man who leads the South American football said that the helmsmen of Boca and River, Daniel Angelici and Rodoldo D’Onofrio, committed to play the game.” And for me the word is worth it,” said the leader of football in the region.
“What happened is serious. Passion was confused with violence, “Dominguez added, before telling that Florentino Perez, president of Real Madrid, was open from the start to the option of having the final of the Libertadores at the merengue stadium.” Not only did he find that it was a good idea, but he immediately told me that the stadium was available at no cost to the meeting,” he said.