Home CONCACAF CONCACAF asks teams to commit to “fair play and reciprocal courtesy”

CONCACAF asks teams to commit to “fair play and reciprocal courtesy”

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CONCACAF issued a release on Friday about the proposed schedule for the final Hex. And there was a very interesting line in there. After the explanation that the round will go between Feb. 6 and Oct. 15, 2013, there was a warning of sorts.

“Members have emphasized their commitment to fair play and reciprocal courtesy among all federations.”

Interesting. In the wake of Panama’s national federation tweeting the location of the hotel in which the Canadian team was staying back in September, and with all of the intimidation tactics we see in Central America, this looks like a warning that maybe, just maybe, CONCACAF isn’t going to put up with nations who are poor hosts anymore.

Of course, the cynics in all of us want to laugh this off. To those of us who have been through a few qualifying tourneys, this will come off as lip service, pure and simple. Canadian fans understand the pain of going to Central America all too well — in the previous round of World Cup qualifying, Canada was outscored 10-1 in losses at Panama and Honduras.

Canadian players were subject to fireworks and dance parties outside their hotels, and vehicles intentionally trying to block the team bus in traffic. Qualifying has become a team effort for supporters — as they do a lot more than simply show up at the stadium and cheer.

The warning is there. But it would be nice for CONCACAF to put some teeth behind this warning. If fans organize themselves, fine — there’s nothing you can do about it. But, in the case of Panama, where the national federation rallied fans to disturb the Canadian team’s sleep — that’s where it crosses the line.

And, it would be refreshing to see Panama forced to play a home qualifier in front of an empty stadium if its federation was to continue this kind of behaviour.

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