We have to face it referees are humans and even though there is a distinct bunch who think they're perfect—unfortunately no one is. Mistakes happen and they loom in every game from maybe a small yellow card that should have been given to a massive penalty that should have not been awarded. Some of these mistakes have heavy tolls on the beautiful game, some being more drastic than others. It is safe to say that in terms of controversy the CONCACAF never fails to surprise.
I personally watch the odd MLS game here and there, maybe a Liga MX match when the time is right. I'm always left with the notion that this region of the world lacks the proper officiating and security to make the game as laudable as it is in many other parts of the world. Everyone knows this too, analysts and fans alike constantly bash this federations horrid structure and rightfully so.
I feel most for the first time watchers—mind you soccer in America is reaching popularity points that we only dreamed of five years ago. For them to witness how bad the CONCACAF holds reign over their games is a huge turn off, sometimes even for a dedicated sports aficionado like myself.
Imagine seeing fans bombard players with bottles and drinks? What does it portray when we have supporters fighting each other in the stands? What message does that send to fathers who plan to take their sons to see the wonderful sport?
We need to do better.
This is why other federations with a richer footballing embodiment look down on this part of the world. Not to say that they're saints either (especially in light of the recent FIFA scandals), but is this really the way this sport should be "cleaned up"?
Something must be done and soon.
I say soon because in light of last nights match between Panama and Mexico, I witnessed arguably the nastiest football scenes in my short-lived soccer fandom (next to the recent Boca/River bonanza that took place this year as well). It's sickening, it absolutely is. To have a 10 man team minutes away from a heroic and historic win, have that accomplishment stripped away by bad officiating (not once but twice) is just a disgrace. As the years go by it becomes clearer that CONCACAF favors it's big market teams. Be it a myth or not, the evidence is becoming more in favor for the latter. For two terrible calls to be made in a game, following a previous game with another gift is laughable. Analysts, fans, coaches and players all agree that the recent officiating has been dreadful:
Qué vergüenza el arbitraje del México-Panamá— JORGE RAMOS (@jorgeramosnews) July 23, 2015
Ran into old friend Jared Borgetti at our hotel. "Mala noche para el fútbol." "Sí."— Grant Wahl (@GrantWahl) July 23, 2015
Whether Mexico 'deserved' the result or not is totally irrelevant. That call was as bad as they come. Conspiracy theorist rejoice.— Shaka Hislop (@ShakaHislop) July 20, 2015
Above I listed the unanimous tweets from a few of the well-respected football faces of the world—just from last night mind you and one from the previous match. This has become a trend spanning throughout the tournament.
Just for the record this hasn't been the only mishaps in recent fixtures in the Gold Cup, sadly it's become a tendency. It's been a rarity to have a game in this region where the referees are not a talking point and that's never a feat to be proud of.
In my personal views, I dream of the day we have a CONCACAF team rise to glory in global competitions—fair and square. With the recent fiascos amongst this said confederation we are only taking steps backward.