Gold Cup: Blazer says no plans to hold tourney outside US
PASADENA, Calif. — Until another country can guarantee the financial windfall of recent Gold Cups, the tournament will not be held outside of the United States any time soon, according to CONCACAF general secretary Chuck Blazer.
The USA has been the host or co-host country for the federation’s top tourney for all 11 editions, the result of the member federations agreeing that it is the best solution for maximizing revenue for an event so lucrative that it funds all CONCACAF tournaments, Blazer told reporters in a press conference shortly before Saturday’s final at the Rose Bowl.
That hasn’t stopped the federation from pursuing other nations to host the biannual Gold Cup, however.
“We have in the past solicited other countries,” Blazer said. “We have in the past looked to see what the revenue generation would be and it has been the collective’s will of the members of the confederation to continue the event here because this is how we support all the other tournaments.”
The Gold Cup is unique among the world’s confederational tournaments in that CONCACAF does not hold blind draws for seeding the participating teams and plots out the locations of each match after all 12 countries have qualified. That practice does not bother Blazer.
“Yes, it’s a commercial event for the purpose of serving the needs of the member countries and we do it to the highest level,” he said. “We recognize we put different teams in different places on this tour so as to maximize attendance and revenue. We are proud of our accomplishment.”
Blazer did not cite any financial figures, but said this has been the “best” Gold Cup to date. Total attendances in the 25-game tournament have topped 600,000, a more than 20 percent increase from the 2009 edition.
"We have given a Gold Cup that in most respects has been better than any that we've done in the past,” he said. “The attendance, the administration and the fan following has been extraordinary. We've had games that have been extremely competitive."
Blazer again, however, sidestepped questions on the ongoing power struggle within CONCACAF, which stemmed from a rift between himself and longtime associate Jack Warner. The Trinidadian was suspended from his post as CONCACAF president following a bribery scandal centering on the recent FIFA election. Warner’s short-lived replacement, Lisle Austin, tried unsuccessfully to oust Blazer from his position as well.
The confederation’s presidency is currently being held on an interim basis by Honduran Alfredo Hawit. Blazer said Saturday that he himself will not be a candidate for the post when CONCACAF elects its next president at its next congress in 2013.
Blazer also addressed reports of potential match-fixing on a handful of games from this Gold Cup and said CONCACAF has taken the matter seriously, but did not find any irregularities.
“Early on, we were aware of comments made by a party in Europe, who believed that certain games were potentially targets in this competition,” he added. “We tracked those [matches], we found that there were no significant anomalies and when we analyzed the games overall, found that they were pretty consistent with both history, as far as the results, and we didn’t find any unusual patterns.”