This summer’s CONCACAF Gold Cup was played against a backdrop of scandal, finger-pointing and disgrace off the pitch, but that didn’t seem to carry over to the matches. Now, with Sports Illustrated’s Grant Wahl receiving confirmation Thursday that FIFA and Interpol investigations of match fixing show something was amiss with a handful of matches, we’re forced to believe even the pitch wasn’t spared from corruption.
Wahl’s report (which you should read in full if you haven’t yet) features a betting-industry insider who is suspicious of every match played by Cuba and Grenada and also El Salvador’s opening 5-0 loss to Mexico. The suspicions come from in-game betting in which bettors wager on future events, such as how many more goals will be scored during the remainder of a game. The majority of the action is in Asia, and a Singaporean newspaper received a tip before the tournament that a syndicate from the Asian nation would have a hand in Gold Cup match results.
The FIFA/Interpol investigation was announced in mid-June with German magazine Der Spiegel reporting there was suspicious betting action on three games, both 5-0 results and one 4-0 game (I’ve got to be honest, I’m not 100% sure this is the original article because I don’t know German, but it is about the Gold Cup and match fixing).
Obviously these allegations – revelations, perhaps – should be troubling to all fans of sport, but the Gold Cup matches mentioned are particularly disturbing to me because I was there. I covered the matches on the first day of the Gold Cup for USA10Kit as I would cover any other match, expecting both teams to put their best effort forward to win. They both finished 5-0, and at the time nothing really seemed out of place.
I thought Mexico’s midfield was very good. I thought El Salvador was badly in need of Arturo Alvarez and was unlucky to lose by such a wide margin. I dismissed Costa Rica’s drubbing of Cuba as simply a show of strength from the Central Americans.
And now? Now I’m not sure what to think. (more…)
Abby Wambach was back to her goal-scoring ways, registering two as the USWNT beat Canada 3-0 in Portland on Thursday night. Highlights here.
Ahead of Portland’s visit to Red Bull Arena, there is plenty of controversy – and doubt – surrounding what was expected to be one of the league’s top teams. Grant Wahl explores the words – and disappointments – of Rafa Marquez.
One of Portland and NY’s main playoff competitors, the Houston Dynamo, will hope to have Adam Moffat back when they head to Pizza Hut Park to face a reeling FC Dallas, who’s won just once in the league since August began.
MLSSoccer has a piece on Juan Agudelo.
Manchester City, despite its vast wealth, wants to emulate Barcelona’s academy and develop youth from within. They’ll start by building a $150 million facility.
JON ARNOLD in Arlington, Texas – Journalists covering the opening matches of the Gold Cup were invited to a news conference with CONCACAF’s general secretary Chuck Blazer during halftime of Costa Rica’s 5-0 win against Cuba. Blazer, however, refused to shed any light on the situation which has recently enveloped CONCACAF.
During his opening statement, Blazer said he wanted to call the news conference to welcome everyone to the 2011 Gold Cup and proudly reiterated that Cowboys Stadium was a sell out today. He declined to take any questions regarding the turmoil in CONCACAF and FIFA, but insisted everything is as it was before everything went haywire.
“I came to make sure that I can assure you that everything is normal, that things are business as usual,” he said. “That the cup that you see is very much the cup that you’ve seen before, and the one that you will see again in the future. (more…)
To no one’s surprise Sepp Blatter was elected to his fourth term as FIFA President yesterday. Blatter ran unopposed after his only opponent, Mohamed Bin Hamman, withdrew from the race after corruption accusations. Shortly after his re-election Blatter announced that former U.S. secretary of state Henry Kissinger would lead a “solution committee” that would address FIFA’s recent scandal. Many of Blatter’s supporters have attacked the FA for being critical of the situation, leaving several English media outlets fuming at Blatter.
Guus Hiddink is dropping hints that he could be headed to Chelsea soon.
In transfer news, Dimitar Berbatov has insisted that he is not leaving Manchester United and is dedicated to winning back his place in the squad. Berbatov was not included in last weekend’s Champions League squad in favour of Michael Owen. (more…)
FIFA vice president Jack Warner promised a tsunami when he hit Zurich, and by the looks of it he’s going to deliver.
The FIFA Ethics Committee decided to provisionally ban Warner and Mohammed Bin Hammam (as well as the Caribbean Football Union’s Debbie Minguell and Jason Sylvester), but completely cleared Sepp Blatter of any wrongdoing.
Never one to utilize understatement, Warner told Sky Sports News: “I must say that I look on the suspension as the worst form of justice by any sporting organisation.” (more…)
BRENT LATHAM – If you haven’t been following all the nonsense surrounding FIFA in recent months, because you can’t stand the power grabbing multi millionaires at the top or because you think it will never change, well, it’s hard to blame you.
But today’s announcement that Mohammed Bin Hammam and, more importantly for the U.S., Jack Warner will be hauled before a FIFA ethics committee on Sunday is the most meaningful announcement I can remember. And I’ll bet they’re quietly celebrating in Chicago as well. Here’s why… (more…)
Kenny Dalglish signed a three-year contract with Liverpool to become the Merseyside squad’s permanent manager. Dalglish took over for Roy Hodgson as interim manager in January and in that time led the Reds on a remarkable turnaround, guiding the team from 12th to 5th place.
In the first game of the Championship semi-final playoff Nottingham Forest will take on Swansea City today. The teams are playing for the right to join QPR and Norwich City in the Premier League next season.
Matt Scott offers five ways that FIFA can improve it’s reputation after it’s recent scandals. (more…)
David Beckham may not have made the trip for tonight’s match (7:30 PM ET) against the Philadelphia Union in Chester, PA, but Landon Donovan is confident his team can come away with the points despite the stars absence.
In other MLS action, Toronto heads to Dallas (9:00 PM ET) looking to build on their weekend win against the Dynamo, while Vancouver hosts San Jose (10:00 PM ET) in a battle of the cellar-dwellers.
FIFA scrutiny continues. This time it’s England’s Sports Minister Hugh Robertson, who has urged FIFA to increase transparency following accusations of attempted bribery in World Cup voting.
Of course, the Qatari bid team has denied all allegations of paying for votes.
One voter “laughed like hell” at the allegations, while another labeled them “absurd.”
BRENT LATHAM – After handing out the U-20 trophy on Sunday, Sepp Blatter was still in Guatemala on Monday, basking in the glow of the country’s first World Cup qualification at any level.
He had some very interesting things to say at a press conference at the Guatemalan Federation, aside from the usual dribble about supporting the growth of the game worldwide.
Sunil Gulati might be interested to know, for example, that: (more…)
A year removed from leading the Premier League in scoring, a season long performance that I argued should have earned the Ivorian the Player of the Year honors, Didier Drogba could soon be on his way to the MLS. Whether or not there is any tangible evidence of negotiations with the Chelsea star remains unclear, but with the arrival of Fernando Torres and Drogba’s aging legs, a Stamford Bridge exit could soon materialize.
Brad Friedel is closing in on a new contract with Aston Villa.
An exciting weekend in the MLS saw Vancouver score twice in injury time to earn a stunning draw with Sporting KC, while Dwayne De Rosario made his debut for the Red Bulls. The arrival of DeRo has expectations for the New York outfit even higher. Full results here.