CONCACAF announced a detailed review of the confederation’s Refereeing Department, following requests for a formal investigation by the Panamanian and Costa Rican football federations in the aftermath of the Gold Cup. The review, which is already underway, will be personally overseen by CONCACAF's acting president Alfredo Hawit (photo), who has 24 years of experience in referee administration, the organization said on Thursday. "The foundation of our game is fair play, and we must take the required steps to reinforce the importance of this principle", Hawit said in a statement. "This review will allow the Confederation to take the next step towards improving refereeing across the region". According to CONCACAF, the review will include "an assessment of processes for determining referee assignments for each match" and a detailed evaluation of refereeing standards throughout the region.
Last week, Pedro Chaluja, president of the Panamanian Football Federation, called for an investigation into “officiating irregularities” and the removal of CONCACAF’s refereeing committee on the heels of Panama’s controversial loss to Mexico in the Gold Cup semifinals, a match that spiraled out of control following an 88th-minute penalty kick awarded to Mexico that allowed “El Tri” to tie the match at 1-1 before winning on another penalty kick in extra time. The Costa Rican federation announced “a formal protest for bad refereeing during Costa Rica's Gold Cup matches and previous tournaments” and asked for the removal of the Referees Technical Committee, responsible for appointing referees for each match, and that CONMEBOL referees officiate upcoming World Cup qualifiers.