Webb Wants Gold Cup Moved Out of US

So Jeff Webb, CONCACAF's newly minted President - by order of Sepp "I Used to be in favor of bribery until I was against it" Blatter - gave an interview to Reuters and wants everybody to know that there's a new sheriff in town. Unfortunately, said sheriff is a clown who almost makes you long for the guy he replaced.

Say what you want about the Warner/Blazer regime at CONCACAF, but those boys knew how to bring in the dough. Lots and lots of it, plenty for everybody.

And while the management certainly did some high living, there's not a single shred of evidence that anyone stole a dime of it: the lion's share of the loot got plowed back into the Confederation for the benefit of it's members.

Now comes Jeff Webb and he's got some thoughts on all of this.

Everybody recognizes that Jeffo's hold over the organization is still somewhat tenuous; the big nations aren't about to allow another bullying dictator to keep their balls in his top desk drawer, Central America is tired of playing second fiddle to the Northerners and the big islands in the CFU have goals and ideas which don't fit easily with most of their brethren who just want the cash to flow.

It was all much simpler when everybody was scared to death of incurring the President's wrath, but to paraphrase Lloyd Bentson, Webb "is no Jack Warner".

So The New Boss outlined his program and while it will sound good to the 25 or so Caribbean minnows he desperately has to keep in his corner, to anyone familiar with a few basic facts it just doesn't fly.

His main Big New Idea is to move the Gold Cup out of the US.

To where, one might ask? Well, he thinks Canada would be a good spot, or of course Mexico, along with "some other countries as well".

I think that's just great. Go for it. Sure the US has proved to be a money machine for CONCACAF but that's no reason not to start flying T&T or Antigua up to Vancouver or Calgary to get whomped on by Jamaica.

Sure transportation costs will skyrocket, but I'm certain they'll draw big crowds. And I'm sure that the Canadian TV companies will quickly replace - even exceed - the dough they used to pull down from US broadcasters who won't be offering anything near what they used to pay for an event being played here.

And I'm positive that Montreal and Juarez both have big islander communities, right? Ready made audience, here we come.

As for the "other places" that Webb mentions, I'm thinking Cuba might work. Or Haiti.

Now a naysayer might suggest that the thing has always been played in the US because the costs are lower and the payoff bigger - the previous administration would have put the thing in Bora-Bora if that was where they could make the most money - but what good is that when an empty suit like Jeff Webb is trying to make himself popular by giving Uncle Sam the finger?

It's cheap, it's easy, and it always works wonders for everybody else.

He also says that he's seriously considering moving CONCACAF out of New York. He mentions Miami as a likely destination.

Which is a fine idea; I've said the same thing many times, for the same reasons, primarily, as he notes, the easy availability of cheap airfare due to it's size and location in relation to the members.

The only problem is that Acting President Alfredo Hawitt announced in January that the thing was being moved, and Webb himself told the Congress in Budapest that he was vacating Trump Tower post haste.

So how is it that, six months later, we're now hearing that he's mulling it over?

The answer is probably twofold: first, CONCACAF has a lease with the Trump Organization and I doubt they're going to let you simply walk away (they're funny about stuff like that and, what's more, they've got, you know, lawyers), and secondly the CONCACAF constitution clearly states that the offices will be located in the city where the General Secretary resides (which is why it was in New York in the first place; it's Blazer's home town).

At the moment, the General Secretary is Poor Old Tired Ted Howard - another New Yorker - who has to be wondering how the hell he got himself into this circus act.

In order to move the thing, Webb either has to a) name a new GenSec, which he seems very reluctant to do, or b) change the constitution, which process would require considerable time and a full CONCACAF Congress to get approved.

So unless he can find someone in Miami to take the job - if you happen to live there, send Webb your resume; can't hurt, right? - the only thing he can do is get someone to take the job and relocate.

Which of course would be fine except for the other problem he has, namely that whoever he names will piss off a bunch of people whose backing he needs right now.

Central America feels they've been shut out of top spots for too long and they are known to be clamoring to have the job go to one of their own. But Mexico, as one of the giants of the region, also feels that it's their turn, and the Caribbean islands think that the job is rightly theirs, for reasons which don't make a lot of sense and wouldn't be worth noting except that they'll be angry if they don't get it and right now that's the last thing Webb can afford.

So the thing is still in New York and, mew and whine about it all he likes, it ain't going nowhere until he grows a pair.

Don't hold your breath.

That aside, Webb mentions two other big ideas he wants to pursue:

First, in an effort to get the ladies on his side, he says he wants to look at a "Women's Gold Cup" and a "Women's Club Championship" and at tournaments for age group women as well.

All of which is grand and wonderful except that as FIFA can tell you, those kinds of things are guaranteed money losers.

FIFA is able to do them because FIFA has this thing called the World Cup which finances pretty much everything else they do.

Of course CONCACAF has the Gold Cup, which raises a fair amount of money as well, but Webb apparently wants to move it to Canada and play the big USA/Mexico final in BMO instead of putting 90,000 people into the Rose Bowl.

(But then, the CSA just announced that they're going to be bidding for the 2026 World Cup despite the fact that a) rotation system or no rotation system Europe expects to get that one, b) the bidding is scheduled to kick off in 2019 and c) are you kidding me?)

As for Mexico, well, there's a reason why they play so many national teams games in the US.

And finally, of course, he tells Reuters: "I think we should be sharing the wealth with (the smaller CONCACAF) countries, helping them participate in competitions".

Which is sweet, sweet music to the guys who put him in office and who he needs next year when that FIFA ExCo seat gets filled.

But I'm sure that the women and the CFU small fry to whom he's making the promises won't mind a bit when they come around asking for their money and you have to explain that you don't have it.

So please, Jeff, move your tournament, your headquarters and whatever else you want.

We promise to be kind when your replacement comes crawling back.