(WFI) The South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) is seeking a new marketing agency responsible for promoting the next Copa America.
The tournament will be held in Brazil in 2019 and for the first time will include sixteen countries: ten from CONMEBOL and six national teams from CONCACAF or UEFA.
According to Paraguay’s newspaper ABC Color, the future marketing agency will be in charge of selling the television and commercial rights of Copa America.
Those rights belonged to DATISA, a conglomerate of Brazil’s Traffic and TyC and Full Play from Argentina, until last year. All of their top executives – Hugo Jinkis, his son Mariano Jinkis, José Hawilla and Alejandro Burzaco – have been involved in the FIFA corruption scandal. They are accused of paying millions of dollars in bribes for marketing rights deals like the one the confederation is currently seeking.
This announcement comes as CONMEBOL’s leadership faces, according to a CONMEBOL lawyer, various lawsuits that cloud the financial future of the regional football organization.
One of those multimillion dollar lawsuits comes from Ismael Pintos, a Uruguayan businessman living in Brazil who accused CONMEBOL of a breach of contract in relation to a television promotional show he ran for the soccer body on an Argentine network.
A Court of appeals in Paraguay has already ordered CONMEBOL to compensate Mr. Pintos $10 million dollars in damages. It is, according to some reports, the biggest labor compensation deal in the history of the country.
However, CONMEBOL considers that ruling unconstitutional. Its lawyers argue that the sentence by the court was politically motivated by the internal struggles of the elites in Paraguay. Questioning the constitutionality of the ruling at the Paraguayan Supreme Court would be CONMEBOL’s last resort to reverse the ruling.
Even though CONMEBOL’s lawyer Monserrat Jimenez admits that Pintos reached an agreement of cooperation with CONMEBOL’ s former President Nicolás Leoz (1986-2013), the agreement was only verbal.
Leoz is one of the 42 former top world football leaders and businessmen involved in the FIFA corruption trial in Brooklyn, New York. The former CONMEBOL boss is now 89-years old and continues to fight extradition to the United States while remaining reclusive at a hospital in Asuncion for the past three years.
He and others face corruption charges for the acceptance of more than $200 million in bribes. Of the 42 accused, 24 have pleaded guilty and two have been sentenced by a judge.
The ruling against CONMEBOL in the Pintos’ case prompted a recent meeting between the body’s representatives and Paraguay’s President Horacio Cartes.
As a result, the President of the Paraguayan football association, Robert Harrison, suggested CONMEBOL may leave its headquarters in Asuncion for not being able to guarantee independence of the Paraguay judicial system to its 10 national federations.
This is only one of several labor lawsuits CONMEBOL faces according to reports in Paraguary. According to Monserrat, 13 other former employees of the institution seek compensation damages worth more than $51 million.
By INSIDER Javier Monne
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