Posted: 6/10/2015


As we take an interest in the FIFA FOLLIES and the Women's World Cup in Canada, the u21s World Cup in New Zealand and this weekends UEFA FRANCE 2016 qualification matches, lets focus on the 44th COPA AMERICA which kicks off at ESTADIO NACIONAL in Santiago, Chile tonight.

The 10 CONMEBOL nations plus guests MEXICO and JAMAICA make up the field of twelve, with Chile hosting Ecuador in the opener. Back in 1973 there was a bloody coup d'etat with the national palace LA Moneda bombed in an attack by the right wing forces led by General Pinochet and supported bp President Richard Nixon. The President, Salvador Allende, was killed, maybe took his own life, and thousands of Chileans were rounded up and placed in the ESTADIO NACIONAL which had a torture chamber. Many disappeared and were murdered.

The Soviet Union was supposed to meet Chile in a FIFA World Cup 1974 play off but after 0-0 in first leg in Moscow they refused to show up and FIFA President Sir Stanley Rous refused to change the location. If you look at the newsreels, ONLY Chile showed up on 21 November. The referee blew his whistle and the team dribbled the ball and scored into the empty net, The whistle blew-game over. RIDICULOUS!. Chile went on to compete in West Germany. They lost to West Germany 1-0 (Paul Breitner), and tied with East Germany 1-1 and Australia 0-0. There is now a museum dedicated to the former inmates in one of the corridors and old dressing rooms.

I paid a brief visit after watching Scotland beat Holland 3-2 in Mendoza at FIFA World Cup Argentina 1978, after a bus trip over the Andes. In 1987 I made a longer visit and went with friends to a Chilean league game, and also visited the home stadium, Estadio Sausalito in Vina del Mar,of Everton FC (where Brazil beat England in the 1962 World Cup quarter final). Later to Santiago Wanderers FC in nearby Valparaiso and then to CD San Marcos in Arica in the far north, where it never rains which was also a 1962 host city.

The local press is curious as to which CONMEBOL officials and sponsors will show up in the Presidential Box with Michelle Bachelet at the opener. Some are in jail in Zurich, others under house arrest and yet more on the run. Matches will also be played in Antofagasta, La Serene, Valparaiso, Vina del Mar, Rancagua, Conception, Temuco and two stadiums in Santiago.

the 2016 COPA AMERICA CENTENARIO is scheduled to be held for the first time in USA with 16 teams, to celebrate the centenary of CONMEBOL. However with massive bribes paid to CONCACAF and CONMEBOL officials and those officials and commercial partners in jail and indicted we may be in for more negative news.