NEW YORK: The draw for the Copa America Centenario is to take place next month in New York as excitement builds towards the 16-team tournament marking the 100th anniversary of the event, organizers said on Tuesday (Wednesday in Manila).
A statement said the draw for arguably the biggest soccer tournament staged in the United States since the 1994 World Cup would take place on February 21 at the famed Hammerstein Ballroom.
The identities of four group seeds—the United States, Argentina, Brazil and Mexico—have already been confirmed.
The draw will decide the fates of the remaining 12 teams for the June 3-26 event which is expected to feature the cream of talent from across the Americas, including Barcelona trio Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez.
The tournament kicks off on June 3 at the Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, the home of the San Francisco 49ers and the venue for next month’s Super Bowl.
The final is to take place on June 26 at the MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
The tournament is being staged outside South America for the first time as a one-off celebration of the event to mark its centenary.
All 10 teams from South America will take part along with six sides from the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) region.
The tournament preparations had been shrouded in uncertainty for much of 2015 after the global football corruption scandal led to the arrests for several top officials from CONCACAF and South America.
Marketing experts quoted by Forbes magazine last week said the tournament was likely to be the biggest ever edition of the Copa America, with twice as many tickets expected to be sold than at last year’s 12-team tournament staged in Chile.