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CONCACAF to review refs after Gold Cup furor

MIAMI – Football’s North American regional governing body is reviewing its referees department in the wake of controversial calls and a major blunder in the just-concluded Gold Cup won by Mexico.

The Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) said Thursday that acting president Alfredo Hawit is personally overseeing the review.

U.S. referee Mark Geiger faced stinging criticism from Panama players and officials over a series of game-changing calls during a 2-1 semi-final loss to Mexico.

“Mr Geiger …  accepted that officiating errors had been made during Wednesday’s match and that these impacted the outcome of the game,” Hawit said last week. “We at CONCACAF regret these circumstances but accept that such human errors are part of the game.”

The Geiger controversy came after an earlier controversy in Mexico’s quarter-final with Costa Rica, when El Tri were awarded a dubious penalty deep into injury time after 120 minutes which settled the match.

See: Costa Rica football federation requests overhaul of CONCACAF officiating

Hawit’s evaluation, approved last week by CONCACAF’s executive committee at a meeting at the Gold Cup final in Philadelphia, includes a look at referee standards across the region, assessing the process of assigning referees to specific matches.

“The foundation of our game is fair play, and we must take the required steps to reinforce the importance of this principle,” Hawit said in a statement. “This review will allow the Confederation to take the next step towards improving refereeing across the region.”

Mexico defeated Jamaica 3-1 in last Sunday’s final but Mexican coach Miguel Herrera was fired by his federation two days later after allegedly attacking a journalist at the Philadelphia airport the day after the final.

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