American football has sunk to a new low with officials investigating the prospect of hosting a "fake" tournament to rival the most watched sporting event on the planet.

It is just over one month since the USA's men's team were bundled out of contention for the 2018 World Cup finals in Russia when they were stunned by a series of results that conspired to dump them from a qualification spot in the CONCACAF zone.

The US were beaten 2-1 by Trinidad and Tobago on the final match day in the Northern and Central American qualification region, allowing Honduras and Panama to leap into qualification spots.

Honduras' fourth-place finish was enough to earn a final play-off against Australia, while Panama secured direct qualification as the United States crashed and burned.


The disaster comes after Fox Sports in the United States paid an astonishing US$500 million ($728 million) for the rights to host the 2018 and 2022 events.

Before America's Russia 2018 hopes were dashed, Fox Sports President Eric Shanks joked America failing to qualify for FIFA's showpiece "would [be] like $200 million flushed down the toilet".

The scale of the disaster at least partly explains the desperate decision from US Soccer to investigate the sad prospect of staging a tournament to rival the World Cup - made up of the teams that failed to secure a spot in the final list of 32 teams heading to Russia next year.

The US Soccer Federation (USSF) is looking into the possibility of hosting the tournament on the eve of the World Cup made up of unlucky qualification losers.

USSF has confirmed reports its marketing arm (Soccer United Marketing) is putting together a plan to persuade FIFA and the individual national football governing bodies interested in participating, into agreeing to the concept.

There remains a long list of potential deal-breakers to the concept, with European leagues unlikely to be willing to let their stars miss matches to play in a made-up tournament on the eve of the World Cup, beginning in June next year.

FIFA is reportedly also likely to shoot down any proposal which may distract from its showpiece in Russia.

The idea that American football has sunk so low to be desperate enough to consider staging such a tournament has left football commentators in the USA red-faced for their country's standing on football's global stage.

The proposed tournament has been likened with American College basketball's annual National Invitation Tournament (NIT) made up of the best teams that fail to qualify for the NCAA Division 1 tournament, popularly known as March Madness.