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It’s time for CONCACAF to rotate the Gold Cup hosting rights

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Former CONCACAF General Secretary and FIFA Executive Committee member Chuck Blazer has been banned from all soccer activities for life on Thursday. The announcement’s timing was ironic as the CONCACAF Gold Cup, Blazer’s biggest contribution to the world soccer landscape, had just kicked off in suburban Dallas on Tuesday. The 2015 Gold Cup is the 13th edition of this biannual classic and 13th consecutive edition either completely held or primarily held on American soil.

Thanks to Blazer, an American, CONCACAF grew from a tiny backwater to a financial behemoth. But part of turning CONCACAF, which governs the sport in North and Central America as well as the island nations of the Caribbean, into such a potent force was due to alleged corruption, bribery and graft. It may seem cynical to state this, but the sort of alleged corruption that involved Blazer and other soccer executives and marketing companies could not have taken place unless the Gold Cup was always primarily held in the United States, where larger stadiums, more disposable income, ethnic populations and better transportation made the tournament financially lucrative.

It is difficult to look at the United States’ record in Gold Cup competitions objectively because the tournament is ALWAYS held on American soil, for the most part. Only once has the USA had to play a game in the Gold Cup outside the country and that was in 1993 for the final. Simply put, the tournament does not meet the standard established by other confederations for continental championships. The fact that the United States and Mexico have dominated the tournament through the years owes itself partly to the superiority of those countries to others in the region in terms of footballing prowess but also to always having “home” games until the two nations face one another in the final.

SEE MOREGet the Copa America TV schedule, bracket and team previews.

Without a regular bidding process to award the tournament to other nations, CONCACAF was able to guarantee marketing company Traffic Sports and its American forerunner Interforever Sports, as well as TV companies, access to the American market every two years. This ultimately made the tournament more lucrative, opened the door for potentially more corruption and made everyone beginning with Blazer a great deal of money.

If CONCACAF is truly serious about putting the stench of the likes of Blazer, Jeffery Webb, Jack Warner and Traffic Sports behind them, they will allow other nations the opportunity to stage the Gold Cup. Canada, which just hosted the FIFA Women’s World Cup, would be a logical choice as would Mexico who has hosted two FIFA World Cups and recently hosted the FIFA U-17 World Cup. Even if the tournament were rotated between the “NAFTA” countries, it would be a start, a sign of legitimacy.

We just witnessed a Copa America in Chile where the host nation was victorious. COMNEBOL has rotated the tournament, its equivalent of the Gold Cup throughout all its member nations. While CONCACAF has serious logistical challenges in many of its member nations, a basic rotation should begin and one place to start would be with Canada or Mexico hosting the next edition of this tournament.

 

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18 Comments

18 Comments

  1. Neil from Oakville

    July 11, 2015 at 9:51 pm

    It’s clear that none of the other continent’s competitions rival the Euros, so how about trying something different and going for the “Copa PanAmerica” including both CONCACAF and CONMEBOL entrants. It should only be every four years, like the Euros and be hosted by alternate countries in either North or South America. This would certainly raise the interest. The Copa America Centenario next year is a good step in the right direction.

  2. Gene de Gourville

    July 10, 2015 at 11:54 am

    I loved the article and respect the comments given but I think a lot of those commenting are misinformed about the rest of the region. Would anyone show up to see Jamaica versus Costa Rica in another country? DEFINITELY! People in every other CONCACAF nation love the sport intensely and many other nations have hosted FIFA tournaments with success.

    I like that Canada was mentioned but believe it or not as far as fanfare goes there are many better options for hosting a Gold Cup.

    1) Mexico: No explanation needed

    2) Trinidad and Tobago: Hosted the FIFA Under 21 World Cup in 2001 and has a handful of capable Stadia.

    3) Jamaica: Again, soccer mad fanbase in a country with great sporting heritage. May be considered to have a lack of Stadia but let’s be serious to host the Gold Cup 3 may be enough.

    4) Costa Rica: State of the Art facilities and their involvement in the game is growing to extreme heights. They also have a top 3 league in CONCACAF.

    5) Joint Hosting possibilities: Honduras may not be able to host alone but why not Honduras/El Salvador together? Just an example but joint hosting opens up lots of possibilities.

    Add Canada to the list (though the Women’s World Cup showed a lack of fanfare) and you have decades worth of hosting the tournament outside of the US. Anyone naming issues fail to realize the reach and love of the sport.

    • David

      July 10, 2015 at 12:22 pm

      Costa Rica doesn’t have many state of the art facilities. The only nice stadium they have is Estadio Nacional. Ricardo Saprissa stadium isn’t bad but it’s turf. The rest of the stadiums are dated and are really small. Many of the other stadiums in Costa Rica are turf. I doubt many would want to play an entire tournament on turf. Trinidad does not have a handful of stadiums. There are only 2 with a capacity over 20,000. I can’t see hosting the Gold Cup in stadiums that only seat 6,000 people. The only real candidates outside the USA to host the Gold Cup are Canada and Mexico.

      • Gene de Gourville

        July 11, 2015 at 10:04 pm

        Costa Rica only has Estadio Nacional and Saprissa…fine. Trinidad only has 2 over 20,000 capacity…fine. My point may have been missed. This is not the World Cup and it is not the Euro Cup. Not even close. It is not even as big as the African Nations Cup or Asian Cup on a global level as far as interest goes. So the need for a lot of Stadia or large capacities really is not there. Look at the recent history of the Asian Cup or the African Cup and see the nations that have hosted the tournaments. Look at the attendance figures. It really is not what you may think. Concacaf is more comparable to their numbers than the numbers that are being stated. You cannot tell me that Costa Rica’s Stadia aren’t enough to stage a 2 week tournament that features 2 matches a day. To be honest the 1 Large Stadium that most of these respectable nations have is enough when combined with smaller nations. 1 point is lost when looking at the Gold Cup attendance figures. These matches are all double headers. A lot of these match attendance figures say 22,000….for 2 matches back to back with fans of 4 nations. Let’s stop kidding ourselves, these are not the great figures that can only happen in the US that we are making them out to be. If a country like Trinidad can host a FIFA U-21 World Cup…it can host the Gold Cup. I love this tournament as much as anyone…really but let’s not make this tournament out to be bigger than it is. Massive Stadia are not required.

    • APB

      July 30, 2017 at 2:08 pm

      Jamaica is a dump. So is most of central america. Don’t be naive about why they don’t host.

  3. brn442

    July 9, 2015 at 6:43 pm

    “Thanks to Blazer, an American CONCACAF grew from a tiny backwater to a financial behemoth.”

    Hmm not sure what an “American CONCACAF” is. Also, Jack Warner, with all his flaws – is as, if not more responsible for CONCACAF’S robust power and influence within FIFA.

    I believe the Gold Cup should be up for hosting by any CONCACAF nation that is willing and capable of doing so. Unfortunately – there are only a handful of nations who can.

    • Jon

      January 31, 2016 at 12:06 am

      The best answer here. Teach them your ways…

      • APB

        July 30, 2017 at 2:07 pm

        You assume most countries even put up a bid. Most know their bids are junk.

  4. David

    July 9, 2015 at 6:40 pm

    Unfortunately, CONCACAF isn’t like the other confederations. You can rotate UEFA, CONMEBOL etc because many different countries have multiple stadiums and fans that will go to games.

    Only in the US can you expect a game with Jamaica and Costa Rica to have fans turn up. Every US and Mexico game will be full during the Gold Cup and many other games will have good attendance. Would anyone actually show up to Costa Rica/Jamaica if it was held anywhere else?

    • Kei

      July 9, 2015 at 7:23 pm

      Maybe like 500 people showed up for the Jamaica/Costa Rica game yesterday, and the Panama/Haiti game the day before.

      Canada has a pretty big immigrant population as well, so one would assume the games would draw just as well in places like Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver etc

      • David

        July 10, 2015 at 12:33 pm

        The Jamaica/Costa Rica game was a double header. Probably 90% of the tickets sold were fans from El Salvador. The second game with El Salvador, stadium was full. It was the same situation with Panama/Haiti. The majority of the fans with tickets were USA fans so second game was full too. That happens when you have a double header.

        • Gene de Gourville

          July 11, 2015 at 10:15 pm

          Double Headers because Double Headers are needed for bigger attendance figures. Move the tournament around! These matches will get the same crowds if not bigger for a lot of these smaller matches (without a double header) in other nations.

  5. David

    July 9, 2015 at 6:38 pm

    I definitely wouldn’t mind seeing the tournament held in Canada. Other than the USA, Canada, and Mexico, there really is no other place to host the Gold Cup. Central American countries lack the infrastructure. It wouldn’t make financial sense either having the Gold Cup in a place such as Honduras or Guatemala. The pitches in those countries are awful.

    • Jon

      January 31, 2016 at 12:01 am

      Have you been to these stadiums David? They’ve all been approved by FIFA. Do you think these countries in South America are much different? Another stupid poster…

      • APB

        July 30, 2017 at 2:05 pm

        That’s not saying much, sweetheart.

        I was privileged enough to listen to a Houston Dynamo game some years back in a CONCAChamps tourney played at Arabs Unido. The game was delayed due to power outages.

        Case closed.

  6. Rob Moore

    July 9, 2015 at 6:22 pm

    You have to imagine Canada and Mexico are capable of holding the tournament exclusively in their own countries…

    That said maybe it should rotate between the US, Canada, Mexico, and the other Central American countries (jointly).

  7. Lawrence Dockery

    July 9, 2015 at 5:44 pm

    Wouldn’t mind see it go to the US one year, go to Mexico two years later, go to Canada two years after that, back to the US two years alter, and so on.

    • Jon

      January 30, 2016 at 11:58 pm

      FU A-hole! Typical American, making us all look bad with their senseless logic. For one Canada sucks, why have them host? They don’t deserve it! Second, Mexico is clearly the best team in CONCACAF. Third, Haiti, Costa Rica, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago who all have all owed the US team in the past before they hosted. Why should these teams continuously be the “underdog” as well as other nations in the Caribbean who could use the publicity. Americans didn’t even like “soccer.” F-outta here A-hole! Go back to watching “football.”

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