By IVES GALARCEP
The U.S. Men’s National Team had little trouble disposing of Belize in their CONCACAF Gold Cup opener on Tuesday night, and apparently some outside influences tried to do their part to control the outcome of the match before a ball was ever kicked.
Two members of the Belize national team informed media in their native country that they were approached prior to Tuesday’s match against the United States and offered bribes to influence the outcome of the match.
Belizian players Ian Gaynair and Woodrow West revealed earlier in the week that an unidentified man had approached them on a previous trip to Guatemala, attempting to befriend them before meeting them again in Portland prior to the USA-Belize match.
“He started talking that we don’t really stand a chance to beat the U.S so he wanted us to promise him that we would lose the game and that he would give us a large amount of money to change our lives in Belize and to help our families,” Gaynair told 7 News Belize.
What should we make of these allegations? For one, U.S. fans should realize that in no way do the stories implicated anybody associated with U.S. Soccer or the U.S. Men’s National Team.
Why would anybody try to pay Belizian players to throw a game they were expected to lose anyway? It’s pretty simple. There is a seedy sports gambling underworld where millions and millions are wagered on international soccer, and if match fixers could spend $15,000 to guaranteed an outcome they could make large wagers on, they would almost certainly make an effort to do it.
The Belize players revealed this prior to the loss to the U.S., and Gaynair actually wound up scoring the lone Belize goal, so nobody should look at those players negatively as if they came up with these claims in order to implicate the United States.
The real cause for concern is whether those same outside influences that tried to bribe the Belize players also tried approaching players from other teams, such as Cuba or Martinique. Match-fixing by using teams expected to lose is pretty standard procedure.
What do you make of this development? Shocked to hear that there is match-fixing, or more shocked that someone offered players so much money to fix a match that always seemed destined to be a blowout?
Share your thoughts below.