The South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL)
The South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) is the continental governing body of football in South America, and it is one of FIFA’s six continental confederations. The oldest continental confederation in the world, its headquarters are located in Luque, Paraguay, near Asunción. CONMEBOL is responsible for the organization and governance of South American football’s major international tournaments. With 10 member football associations, it has the fewest members of all the confederations in FIFA.
CONMEBOL national teams have won nine FIFA World Cups (Brazil five, Uruguay two, and Argentina two), and CONMEBOL clubs have won 22 Intercontinental Cups and four FIFA Club World Cups. Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay have won two Olympic gold medals each. It is considered one of the strongest confederations in the world.
The World Cup qualifiers of CONMEBOL have been described as the “toughest qualifiers in the world” for their simple round-robin system, entry of some of the top national teams in the world, leveling of the weaker national teams, climate conditions, geographic conditions, strong home stands, and passionate supporters.
Juan Ángel Napout (Paraguay) was the president of CONMEBOL until 3 December 2015 when he was arrested in a raid in Switzerland as part of the U.S. Justice Department’s bribery case involving FIFA. Wilmar Valdez (Uruguay) was interim president until 26 January 2016 when Alejandro Domínguez (Paraguay) was elected president. The Vice presidents are Ramón Jesurum (Colombia), Laureano González (Venezuela), and Arturo Salah (Chile)
In 1916, the first edition of the “Campeonato Sudamericano de Fútbol” (South-American Football Championship), now known as the “Copa América”, was contested in Argentina to commemorate the centenary of the Argentine Declaration of Independence. The four participating associations of that tournament gathered together in Buenos Aires in order to officially create a governing body to facilitate the organization of the tournament. Thus, CONMEBOL was founded on 9 July 1916 under the initiative of Uruguayan Héctor Rivadavia Gómez, but approved by the football associations of Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Uruguay. The first Constitutional Congress on 15 December of that same year, which took place in Montevideo, ratified the decision.
Over the years, the other football associations in South America joined, with the last being Venezuela in 1952. Guyana, Suriname, and the French overseas department of French Guiana, while geographically in South America, are not part of CONMEBOL. Consisting of a French territory, a former British territory, and a former Dutch territory, they are part of the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF), mainly due to historical, cultural, and sporting reasons. With ten member nations, CONMEBOL is the smallest and the only fully continental land-based FIFA confederation (no insular countries or associates from different continents).
There are sovereign states or dependencies in South America which are not affiliated with CONMEBOL but are members of other confederations or do not have affiliation with any other confederations at all.
French Guiana (CONCACAF)
As Falkland Islanders are British citizens born overseas, they are entitled to declare for any of the four Home nations. They may choose to represent Argentina as well.
- Copa América (1916-present)
- UEFA-CONMEBOL Cup (starting 2024)
- CONMEBOL Men Pre-Olympic Tournament
- South American Under-20 Football Championship
- South American Under-17 Football Championship
- South American Under-15 Football ChampionshipCopa América Femenina
- South American Under-20 Women’s Football Championship
- South American Under-17 Women’s Football Championship
- Copa América de Futsal
- FIFA Futsal World Cup qualifiers
- South American Futsal League
- South American Under-20 Futsal Championship
- South American Under-17 Futsal Championship
- Copa América Femenina de Futsal
- South American Under-20 Women’s Futsal Championship
- Copa América de Beach Soccer
- FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup qualifiers
- South American Beach Soccer League
- South American Under-20 Beach Soccer Championship
- Superclásico de las Américas
- Copa Libertadores
- Copa Sudamericana
- Recopa Sudamericana
- Copa Libertadores Femenina
- Copa Libertadores de Futsal
- Copa Libertadores de Beach Soccer
- Supercopa Libertadores
- Copa CONMEBOL
- South American Championship of Champions
- Copa Ganadores de Copa
- Copa de Oro
- Copa Mercosur
- Copa Merconorte
- Copa Master de Supercopa
- Copa Master de CONMEBOL
- U-20 Copa Libertadores
- Suruga Bank Championship
- Intercontinental Champions’ Supercup
- Copa Interamericana
- Copa Iberoamericana
- Intercontinental Cup
The main competition for men’s national teams is the Copa América, which started in 1916. The Copa America is the only continental competition in which teams from a totally different continent and confederation can be invited to participate. CONMEBOL usually selects and invites a couple of teams from the AFC or CONCACAF to participate in the Copa America. Japan and Qatar were invited to participate in the 2019 edition of the Copa America. CONMEBOL also runs national competitions at Under-20, Under-17 and Under-15 levels. For women’s national teams, CONMEBOL operates the Copa América Femenina for senior national sides, as well as Under-20 and Under-17 championships.
In futsal, there is the Copa América de Futsal and Campeonato Sudamericano de Futsal Sub-20. The Campeonato Sudamericano Femenino de Futsal is the women’s equivalent to the men’s tournament.
CONMEBOL also runs the two main club competitions in South America: the Copa Libertadores was first held in 1960 and the Copa Sudamericana was launched by CONMEBOL in 2002 as an indirect successor to the Supercopa Libertadores (begun in 1988). A third competition, the Copa CONMEBOL, started in 1992 and was abolished in 1999. In women’s football, CONMEBOL also conducts the Copa Libertadores Femenina for club teams. The competition was first held in 2009.
The Recopa Sudamericana is an annual match between the past year’s winners of the Copa Libertadores and the winners of the Copa Sudamericana (previously the winners of the Supercopa Libertadores) and came into being in 1989.
The Intercontinental Cup was jointly organised with UEFA between the Copa Libertadores and the UEFA Champions League winners.
FIFA World Rankings
FIFA Men’s Rankings (as of 31 March 2022)
FIFA Women’s Rankings (as of 25 March 2022)
Team of the Year – Teams ranking in the top four – Men’s
Teams ranking in the top four – Women’s
FIFA World Cup
FIFA Women’s World Cup
Olympic Games For Men
Olympic Games For Women
FIFA U-20 World Cup
FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup
FIFA U-17 World Cup