- Associated Press - Tuesday, June 23, 2015

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 Chavez, treasurer of regional governing body CONMEBOL, told Associated Press Tuesday the reserve fund may be needed to pay expenses for the on-going Copa America, the South American championship.

Chavez said the reserves “would give us a little breathing space for a few days.”

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

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 U.S. 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 center 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,” Chavez 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 Chavez 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.

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

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Luis Andrés Henao on Twitter: https://twitter.com/LuisAndresHenao

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