CONCACAF admits ref mistakes during Mexico vs. Panama Gold Cup Semifinal

CONCACAF issued a statement Saturday morning regarding Mark Geiger’s officiating during the Mexico/Panama game in the Gold Cup Semifinal. CONCACAF President Alfredo Hawit acknowledged mistakes had been made by Geiger and his assistants. This was after Costa Rica and Panama jointly filed complaints for FIFA and CONCACAF to investigate for possible corruption due to the officiating in Costa Rica’s Quarterfinal game and Panama’s Semifinal game against Mexico.

While all of these weren’t egregiously bad calls, Panama was given a red card but scored. Then Mexico received penalty kicks right at the end of regulation to equalize and in extra time to lead and advance to the Gold Cup Final. The plays led to fights among players and things thrown from the stands.

Here was CONCACAF’s statement in full:

We met with both the Referee Department leadership and referee Mark Geiger. Mr. Geiger, one of the best regarded referees in the region with vast international experience and a proven track record, accepted that officiating errors had been made during Wednesday’s match and that these impacted the outcome of the game. We at CONCACAF regret these circumstances but accept that such human errors are part of the game.

We all know mistakes are made and as much as we want referees to be 100% perfect, they’re human just like you and me and are susceptible to making mistakes. The problem is that this seems to happen far too often (sometime multiple times during games) and when “one of the best regarded referees in the region” is making these mistakes, what does that say about the referees who aren’t highly regarded?

This is all well and good, but Panama is still eliminated and I’m sure they don’t really feel any better about the situation now than when they were eliminated on Wednesday. A statement like this is just what it is, a statement. Nothing changes from something like this. What changes and improvements are being made to help improve the quality of these referees and assist them to make the right calls most of the time.

Just like the old saying goes, “Actions speak louder than words.” We need action to improve the referees situation and we need it fast. It’ll help the referees, it’ll help the fans and it’ll help the game.

About Phillip Bupp

News editor for The Comeback and Awful Announcing, highlight consultant for Major League Soccer as well as a freelance writer for hire. Opinions are my own but feel free to agree with them. Follow me on Twitter @phillipbupp