Panama and Costa Rica request urgent changes in the CONCACAF Referees Committee

Following the Gold Cup 2015 semi-final Panama – Mexico, refereed by Mark Geiger (USA), the Panamanian Football Federation (FEPAFUT) demands the complete and urgent removal of all members of the CONCACAF Referees Committee. “What happened Wednesday, in the semi-final match against Mexico, proved to be the straw that broke the glass of a repetitive situation that occurred since the first game of our team during the group stage and continued during the following matches. We demand a prompt response to this request because it debunks all the effort and sacrifice made by every one of our players wearing the national shirt, the work of our coaching staff, as well as planning to management level. It was clear and everyone is witness to this, that the Panamanian team was superior to that of Mexico on the field. The opponent had no football arguments to counter the good technical and tactical nature of Panamanians so, with the clear intention to harm our team, the referee of the match unreasonably sent-off our starring front Luis Tejada and invented a totally non-existent penalty kick, just one minute from the end of the game, when it appeared that Panama would play the final against Jamaica, sending it to extra time. It is mainly for our players, coaches, their families and, finally, for our entire country that we make public our disagreement with refereeing decisions that have damaged not only our team, but others as well, as Costa Rica was also a victim of this situation. The CONCACAF refereeing left our team out of the Gold Cup final 2015, so the whole Panama deplores the poor performance of the refereeing body of the CONCACAF and hopes that the necessary measures are taken to prevent such situations to be repeated in the future. It is imperative that these changes are in place to carry out the most important football idea: Fair-Play”. (Source: FePaFut)

Costa Rican football officials sent a letter to CONCACAF’s Executive Committee President Alfredo Hawit asking that every member of the CONCACAF Referees Committee be fired. The football federation also listed the names of five officials, including Walter Lopez (GUA), who called the suspect penalty on Roy Miller in the loss to Mexico, that it requests never be assigned to a Costa Rican match again. Secretary General Rafael Vargas Brenes signed off on the letter that reads as a list of indictments against CONCACAF officiating, citing examples of improper refereeing from as far back as 2011. “We consider that Costa Rica has been directly affected by the poor work of the officials and we present as evidence, an analysis of the irregularities that occurred in our national team’s games, in search of a clear and conclusive response on the part of your Executive Committee,” the letter reads. “As international football remains clouded by allegations of corruption within its highest governing body, two officiating controversies in four days at the Gold Cup have cast even more doubt over the sport’s integrity.” One high-ranking official at Costa Rica’s Football Federation (FEDEFUTBOL) said he has had enough and wants the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) to restructure its referee committee. The request follows questionable calls in Mexico’s favor throughout the Gold Cup tournament, namely a 121st minute penalty kick in Sunday’s match against Costa Rica and Wednesday night’s debacle in which referees awarded a pair of penalty kicks to Mexico in its 2-1 win over Panama. “The damage this has done to football at the world level and at the level of CONCACAF is going to take many years to repair,” FEDEFUTBOL treasurer Rodolfo Villalobos told television reporters on Thursday afternoon. “But now is the time to begin this reparation process.” Villalobos, who also serves on CONCACAF’s referee committee, said he would hand in his resignation if the necessary changes aren’t made to improve the region’s officiating. “If immediate restructuring is not made then I will be presenting them with my resignation,” Villalobos said. “There’s no point in continuing there as a waste of space practically.” When reached by The Tico Times, FEDEFUTBOL press  representative Cristian Williams said the federation was analyzing the situation and preparing notes and videos that could be sent to CONCACAF as part of a formal complaint. (Source: The Tico Times)

CONCACAF Statement regarding official requests from Costa Rica Football Federation and Panama Football Federation
"CONCACAF has received the official requests from the Panamanian Football Federation and Costa Rican Football Federation and will review them carefully. The confederation takes these claims extremely seriously and will look into them immediately. As a first step toward addressing the request, this matter has been added to the agenda of tomorrow's CONCACAF Executive Committee meeting for discussion”.