The Three Amigos Take CONCACAF for a Ride

This is to let you know that you're not alone. We're all in the same boat these days following the color, excitement and mind-bending drama of the Pan Am games in Guadalajara.

Why just last night as I was reading about the big American upset in 78 kilo Judo and watching a bunch of guys from the Sioux Falls Skyforce and the Maine Red Claws upholding the honor of Old Glory against Brazil, PbP man Rob Stone (hey, a guy has to eat) earnestly informed us that, "just like in soccer", Brazil plays with a "Samba mentality" that shows their love for life and sport.

Or some damned crap. It didn't make any sense then either, and it made even less when they coughed up a 17 point lead to a bunch of guys named Bruce.

It's discouraging though that US Soccer elected not to send teams down, since there's nothing I love better than watching a mismatched bunch of PDL players who just met last week being sliced and diced by Argentina. Truly.

(Congrats to Canada's women though, who won their first-ever Pan Am soccer gold in a shootout over Brazil, 4-3. Hmmm. Brazil. Women. Shootout. Don't I recall...nah.)

Anyway, even if you're among the few who are not as surprised as all hell to learn that the Pan Am games still exist, it's unlikely that anyone much begged their boss for time off and took out a second on the house so they could spend the week brushing their teeth with Aquafina down Mexico way.

And that's understandable; after all, who would have wanted to miss the titanic Rapids-Crew struggle last night? I mean, when the announcers are pining for the glamor and skill that Conor Casey would have brought to the match you know it's one hell of a snoozer.

But the Ecuador/Trinidad women's field hockey final isn't the only newsworthy event going on this week in Guadalajara. No indeed.

For pure symbolism if nothing else, you just can't beat the meeting of the CONCACAF Executive Committee today in the same city.

I've been unable to find out whether Sunil Gulati is there, or even if he got an invitation, but either way his appearance would be strictly ceremonial. (Then again, since we're still waiting to hear from him, in his role as President of Kraft Soccer, about the coach who just left the team after ten freaking years without so much as a "we wish him the best in his future endeavors", I doubt whether we can expect to hear about this stuff either. "Silent Sunil" indeed.)

Because with both the Caribbean members suspended and the President having resigned, the constitutionally ordained seven man Executive now consists of four people.

Which means that Jose Compean of Mexico, Afredo Hawit of Honduras and Ariel Alvarado of Panama, by themselves, now control CONCACAF lock, stock and barrel.

Or they would if Jack Warner hadn't stolen all the keys, given the stock to his sons and hidden all the barrels in his garage.

And of course the first order of business for the Three Amigos is replacing Chuck Blazer and moving CONCACAF headquarters out of New York City to someplace more...um...convenient. For them.

Preferably as far from the US Dept of Justice, the IRS, the SEC, the New York District Attorney's office, Homeland Security and anybody else who might have some silly notions about financial reporting, bribery statues and all that silly muck as they can get.

Now, you may recall that CONCACAF has some lovely offices in Miami and in fact there's a very valid reason they were put there: not only is it about as central to the entire Caribbean region as you can get but it's also a major regional and international air hub. Cheap, convenient flights abound, along with a plethora of hotel rooms and conference facilities.

In other words, they'll set up shop in Guatamala.

They were in a much bigger hurry until FIFA graciously agreed to suspend Horace Burrell until January 4, of course, but now there won't be a single pesky CFU rep in the room at all.

And we all wonder why it is the CFU federations are sure that Zurich is out to get them.

Because one would think that, sitting on a $40 million pile of money as CONCACAF is, it would be appropriate - even incumbent - to pick up the tab for a few plane tickets so that the CFU could hold a congress, elect some leadership and start to get their affairs in order since, at the moment, they're broke, rudderless and desperate.

"For the Good of the Game" my ass. Football in the Caribbean needs help and these thugs only concern is how to divvy up the spoils.

For 20+ years, Jack Warner told these guys that he was the only thing standing between them and Everybody Else shoving them around and treating the like field hands. Now, the Three Amigos are working their asses off proving to them that he was right.

The real tragedy in all of this is this:

For years we longed for the day - which sometimes seemed like it would never come - when we could rid ourselves of Jack Warner and the ugly regime he built largely by shamelessly exploiting the insecurities and resentments of a bunch of small island countries.

And wonder of wonders, that day finally came.

Now we have been given a small window of opportunity to set things right, to show the Caribbean federations that they don't need to kowtow to some cheap criminal in order to have their voices heard.

Instead, they're being intentionally marginalized, their distress is being exploited and their unfortunate situation taken advantage of by another bunch who only wants to seize power for themselves.

Sadly, it seems almost certain now that the opportunity to rebuild CONCACAF will be lost in the power grab and, what's worst, when the CFU finally gets back on it's feet - which they inevitably will since 25 FIFA votes and 30 out of 40 CONCACAF votes will still matter a great deal - they're going to remember it all.

So instead of someone stepping forward and showing real leadership, true statesmanship and genuine concern for the game and it's future in the region, all we've got is a bunch of grasping midgets who can't see past their own noses.

And our once in a lifetime golden opportunity is circling the drain.