Tue | Apr 25, 2017

Copa hit by money woes

Published:Wednesday | June 24, 2015 | 6:00 AM
Argentina's Angel Di Maria training in La Serena, Chile, yesterday. Argentina will face Colombia in the next round of the Copa America football tournament on Friday.

SANTIAGO, Chile (AP):

South American football's governing body may be forced to use a $10 million reserve fund to pay expenses due to a cash-flow problem created by the FIFA bribery scandal.

Carlos Ch·vez, treasurer of regional governing body CONMEBOL, told the Associated Press yesterday that the reserve fund may be needed to pay expenses for the ongoing Copa America, the South American championship.

Ch·vez said the reserves "would give us a little breathing space for a few days".

Ch·vez also said that sponsors like Coca-Cola have been asked to pay directly to CONMEBOL.

accounts frozen

He said the company Datisa, which owns the rights to the tournament, had paid only $35 million of $80 million owed to CONMEBOL. He said Datisa's bank accounts are frozen because of a US Department

of Justice investigation into corruption.

Datisa is a company put together by Argentine and Brazilian sports executives. It owns the rights to the Copa America tournaments, and its owners are at the centre of a $110 million bribery scandal and are in the process of being extradited to the United States.

"The sponsors that have contacts with Datisa have not yet paid all they owe to Datisa," Ch·vez said. "Therefore, paying us directly is a possibility.

"Datisa has its accounts frozen," he added, "and is not able to make payments (to CONMEBOL) in a normal way that was agreed before the Copa America".

Although Ch·vez said he wants sponsors to pay directly to CONMEBOL instead of to the incriminated rights holder, it unclear if sponsors could do this when they have contracts with Datisa - not with CONMEBOL.

Ch·vez said CONMEBOL needed at least $20 million to pay prize money and other costs for the remainder of the tournament.