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Report: Panama, Costa Rica officially request reviews of CONCACAF officiating


According to a report by the Associated Press, Panama and Costa Rica have both submitted official requests to CONCACAF for a review of the refereeing in recent Gold Cup matches against Mexico.

Both teams were on the receiving end of questionable calls that helped Mexico progress into the final of the tournament, eliminating both opponents. Mexico was awarded a controversial penalty in the final minute of extra time against Costa Rica, giving them the opportunity to take a late 1-0 lead. In the semifinals, a questionable 29th-minute red card was shown to Panama’s Luis Tejada, and a shaky penalty was awarded in the 89th minute to allow Mexico to draw level at 1-1.

The AP report says that Panama’s request asked for CONCACAF for an investigation into the referee committee and its procedures, the people who assign referees to games, all unspecified “suspicious matches,” and referee Mark Geiger who oversaw the semifinal.

[ RELATED: Referee organization backs Mark Geiger ]

Panama has been incredibly outspoken from the moment the final whistle blew, creating a banner in the postgame locker room calling CONCACAF “corrupt.” Pedro Chaluja, the Panamanian federation president, said “we feel that that game was fixed.”

Costa Rica requested similar things, according to the report, and also asked for certain referees not to take charge of their matches in the future. CONCACAF said in a statement, “The confederation takes these claims extremely seriously and will look into them immediately.”

CONCACAF did hand down a few punishments for incidents on the field following the Panama/Mexico match. Goalkeeper Jamie Penedo was suspended for pushing an assistant referee, while leading scorer Luis Tejada was suspended two matches for his straight red card and for not leaving the field in a timely manner. Panama was also fined an undisclosed amount “for team misconduct both on and off the field.” So far the Mexican federation has not been punished for fans throwing garbage at Panamanian players, and no other Panamanian players have been sanctioned despite the entire squad storming Geiger at the final whistle and video emerging showing a Panamanian player appearing to attempt to kick Geiger.

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