SANDY, Utah – Even as allegations of a third-party attempt to pay Belize players to throw their match against the United States made their way through the media this week, it was hard to imagine the reports having any kind of effect on the USMNT’s participation in the Gold Cup. It was a sentiment US head coach Jurgen Klinsmann confirmed, only to then go out of his way to hail the Belize players for their prompt response to the attempted bribe.
“It has no effect on us,” US head coach Jurgen Klinsmann said at a press conference. “We were informed and to speak for me, I think it’s wonderful to see how these players reacted right away and reported to CONCACAF the right thing immediately, so a big compliment to these two guys, and obviously there is no space for that stuff in the game.”
US star Landon Donovan also weighed in, pointing out that it could have presented a tough dilemma for players coming from a country where opportunities for income can be scarce.
“We don’t know what actually happened, but it’s hard for them,” Donovan told reporters on Friday. “[The attitude of the Belize players was] incredible because no one know what they have in their lives and it’s possible that they really needed the money that was offered, but for me, I have a lot of respect for them and hope that nothing like this happens again.”
CONCACAF confirmed on Thursday that they had identified the suspected perpetrators.