Here is what we don’t need. In the summer the CONCACAF region was right in the midst of the Mohammed Bin Hammam scandal after Chuck Blazer revealed a money for votes rigging scheme that involved officials of the Caribbean Football Union receiving wads of cash from Bin Hammam for their support to replace Sepp Blatter as FIFA president. The fallout was immense. Bin Hammam was banned from the sport, Jack Warner, the CONCACAF president voluntarily retired in exchange of immunity, and Blazer, the organization’s vice president and whistleblower played a cat and mouse game with an incensed CFU which involved a messy court case.
That was not the only thing not above board this summer. FIFA is now investigating this year’s Gold Cup for match fixing especially matches that involved Grenada and Cuba. The chatter was on the Mexico vs USA final which showed up Tim Howard in extremely poor light and the abyss in quality between the two countries. Meanwhile, the matches involving Cuba and Grenada saw enormous spikes in betting going on while the matches were being played, akin, one supposes to the phenomenon of volumes of short selling in the stock market which trigger suspicion of insider trading.
With what’s going on, the CONCACAF, long one of the weakest regional associations in term of footballing quality is now saddled with the dubious distinction of being one of the most corrupt. FIFA delegated one of its top enforcers, Chris Eaton, the head of security to oversee the investigation which could see perpetrators being docked or suspended if these allegations hold true with Sepp Blatter now eager to be looked on as a crusader against corruption.
US Soccer will be well advised to launch its own investigation because the Gold Cup is essentially hosted by them and the integrity of the pre-eminent soccer tournament in the region is at stake here. Whether they do it in conjunction with FIFA or independently with permission is not really important but the perception that they do not support corruption is important for many different reasons, one of them, bringing the World Cup back to the USA.