So, About Moving the Gold Cup…
Posted on February 28, 2013 8:41 pm
When CONCACAF President Jeffrey Webb acknowledged that the possibility of hosting a Gold Cup entirely outside of the United States (for the first time in its history) was under consideration, I suggested that only three countries could realistically hope to land the 2015 edition, given Canada’s unavailability: either Mexico, or a joint effort by Costa Rica and Panama.
Given the absence of updates since then, and that the anticipated 2016 Copa América has yet to be finalized, I would be hard-pressed to see CONCACAF rolling the dice on handing the tournament to a new host on short notice. Most likely, either the 2017 or 2019 Gold Cup would provide the best opportunity for another in CONCACAF’s membership to receive the biggest competition in our region outside of World Cup qualifying. Today’s news, though, will be sure to give Webb and General Secretary Enrique Sanz (or their successors) pause before evaluating bids from outside North America.
After months of waiting on local footballing and governing authorities to move forward with construction of a new stadium in Jacó and to carry out infrastructural improvements in the Estadio Edgardo Baltodano in Liberia, FIFA rang Costa Rican Football Federation President Eduardo Li (pictured above) this morning to demand guarantees that the stadia would be ready in time to host the next u-17 Women’s World Cup, scheduled for March 2014. Li explained his own thought process to La Nación (translation mine):
If the dates for the World Cup aren’t met, Costa Rican football will be exposed to a ban from all competitions for up to 10 years. I couldn’t expose Costa Rican football [to this].
Due to a number of unforeseen circumstances leading to heavy stadium construction delays, FIFA, in agreement with the Costa Rica Football Federation, has had no other option than to relocate the hosting of the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup next year.
The national government responded swiftly, with President Laura Chinchilla calling Li to inquire as to the possibility of “saving the situation”, while Sports Minister William Corrales placed the blame at the Federation’s door for outstanding debts with state institutions. Given my ignorance of the quotidian relationship between the two entities, I cannot authoritatively determine whose negligence most contributed to this failure; the loss of hosting rights for what would have been the first FIFA tournament ever held in Central America, though, can only be considered a humiliation for all involved.