CONCACAF penalized the Panamanian Football Federation and two players on Friday for Panama’s role during and after the team’s Gold Cup semifinal match against Mexico on Wednesday, it announced.
The Federation (FEPAFUT) was fined an undisclosed amount for team misconduct, while players Jaime Penedo and Luis Tejada received two-game suspensions. Penedo pushed an assistant referee after the match ended. Tejada failed to “leave the field in a timely manner” following his ejection from the match.
Neither player will be available for the team's match Saturday against the United States. The two teams will play for third place in the Gold Cup at Philadelphia’s PPL Park.
Both teams scuffled during a frenzied semifinal Wednesday, which Panama led 1–0 until the ninth minute of stoppage time, when Mexican player Andres Guardado scored on a penalty kick. Guardado then scored six minutes later on another penalty kick, and won the game 2–1.
Fans threw beer on the Panamanian players following their goal early in the second half, and referee Mark Geiger had to be escorted off the field by security in order to avoid a post-match onslaught by Panama players.
After the game, Panama tweeted a photo of the team holding a banner calling CONCACAF “theives.”
Earlier Friday, FEPAFUT president Pedro Chaluja alleged that the semifinal match between Mexico and Panama was fixed, according to Goal.com. On Thursday, the same body called for the resignation of the entire CONCACAF Referees Committee.
“The bad refereeing decisions were deliberate and with the intention of protecting the third parties,” Chaluja said.
“These events only can be decrypted if FIFA and CONCACAF join together to carry out a through investigation into the development that referee Mark Geiger was so unfavorable and ended up robbing the victory and the dreams of all Panamanians.”
Panamanian as well as Costa Rican officials called Friday for a review of CONCACAF’s referee procedures during the semifinal and quarterfinal matches involving both teams, respectively, according to the Associated Press. Both teams lost to Mexico on penalty kicks brought about by controversial, stoppage-time calls.
- Will Green