CONCACAF announced Thursday that acting president Alfredo Hawit will personally oversee a review of the confederation’s Refereeing Department following requests for a formal investigation by the Panamanian and Costa Rican football federations in the aftermath of the Gold Cup.
The review, already underway according to the CONCACAF release, will include a detailed evaluation of refereeing standards throughout the region and an assessment process for determining referee match assignments.
“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.”
Pedro Chaluja, president of the Panamanian Football Federation, called for an investigation into “officiating irregularities” and the removal of CONCACAF’s refereeing committee on the heels of Panama’s controversial loss to Mexico in the Gold Cup semifinals, a match that spiraled out of control following an 88th-minute penalty awarded to Mexico that allowed El Tri to tie the match at 1-1 before winning on another spot kick in extra time.
The Costa Rican federation announced “a formal protest for bad refereeing during Costa Rica's Gold Cup matches, and previous tournaments” and asked for the removal of the Referee Technical Commission, responsible for appointing referees for each match, and that CONMEBOL referees officiate upcoming World Cup qualifiers.
Hawit’s oversight of the investigation was was approved unanimously by the CONCACAF Executive Committee at an in-person meeting on Saturday in Philadelphia. The committee based its decision on Hawit’s 24-year experience in referee administration.