Football Federation Australia (FFA) today confirmed it had accepted an invitation from the South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) for the Caltex Socceroos to participate in the Copa America next year.
FFA Chairman Chris Nikou said this was a huge opportunity for Australian football to showcase its talents on a global stage against some of the best nations in the world.
“We are ecstatic that our Caltex Socceroos will be participating in this prestigious competition for the first time in our history.
“We have been working hard over the last six months to improve our international relationships. This week we held fruitful final discussions with our colleagues at CONMEBOL in Paris and we are delighted we have been able to accept this invitation,” he said.
FFA Chief Executive Officer David Gallop who was also in Paris for the talks said participation in the tournament will provide a shot in the arm for the national team both on and off the pitch
“The benefits of participating in the tournament are wide-ranging. Our team will benefit from the experience of testing themselves out against some of the best players in the world,” he said.
"On the commercial side, exposing our national team on a global stage has significant upside as well. I’d also like to extend our gratitude to those at CONMEBOL for their cooperation during this process."
Caltex Socceroos Head Coach Graham Arnold said the Copa America will provide a further boost to his team as it works through a busy calendar of FIFA World Cup Qatar Qualifiers next year.
“The Copa America is a highlight of the football calendar and we can’t wait to get there.
“We crave these opportunities as players and coaches. The experience we will gain from playing in this tournament will be incredible and I know by speaking to our players, they are equally excited about being part of one of the World’s most prestigious football tournaments.”
“Our planning for the FIFA World Cup Qatar has already started. We are building depth amongst our playing group, as evidenced by our performance in Korea Republic last week and playing in this tournament provides another layer of incentive for our players to put themselves up for selection for the national team.
“It will be a big couple of months as we start June next year with World Cup qualifiers and then head straight to the Copa America,” he said.
The 2020 Copa America will be the 47th time the tournament is played. It will be hosted in Argentina and Colombia from 12 June to 12 July.
The tournament will feature two groups of six nations. The national teams of Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Venezuela plus one of the invited nations will be split into one group.
The other group will feature Argentina, Uruguay, Bolivia, Paraguay, Chile and the other invited nation. The top four teams from each group advance to the quarter finals.