Panama’s football federation has called on CONCACAF to remove several of its referees after the Gold Cup semi-final debacle.
Mexico were awarded a dubious penalty in the 89th minute, when American referee Mark Geiger adjudicated Panama captain Roman Torres handled inside the area – when the ball made minor, incidental contact with his arm as he landed from an aerial challenge.
Panama were leading 1-0 at the time, but Andres Guardado stepped up to equalise from the spot – not before Hernan Dario Gomez’s men refused to play for more than 10 minutes in protest.
Mexico went on to win 2-1 after extra time – via another penalty – but Panama’s football body FEPAFUT claimed its grievance with the referees extended throughout the tournament.
Panama also revealed they felt short-changed by the 25th-minute dismissal of Luis Tejada in Wednesday’s semi-final in Atlanta, Georgia.
The statement demanded “complete removal” of members of CONCACAF’s arbitration commission.
“Wednesday’s semi-final match against Mexico proved to be the straw that broke the glass of a repetitive situation that occurred since the first game of our team during the group stage and continued during the following dates we saw action,” a translation of FEPAFUT’s statement read.
“[We] demand a prompt response to this request because it debunks all the effort and sacrifice made by every one of our players to wear the national shirt, the work of our coaching staff, as well as planning to the highest level.
“It was clear and everyone is witness to this, that the Panamanian selection was superior to that of Mexico in the field.
“The opponent had no football arguments to counter the good technical and tactical nature of Panamanians so, with the clear intention to harm our XI, the referee of the match became principal to unreasonably expel our star front man Luis Tejada and invent a totally non-existent crime just one minute from the end of the game sending it to extra time when it appeared that Panama would play the final against Jamaica.”
The statement concluded: “It is imperative that these changes are in place to carry out the most important football motto: Fair Play.”
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