Mar 7, 2017 02:28:59
The confederation announces the matchups for this summer's tournament Tuesday but would be better served with a traditional draw.
CONCACAF needs to take every opportunity it can to boost transparency.
The more open the confederation is with fans, the better. Pew and Gallup don't ask about it, but it's a safe guess that public confidence in the soccer governing body is as low or lower than the approval ratings actual governors get throughout North America, Central America and the Caribbean.
This is a region that has so long dealt in the dark, it sometimes doesn't think about the things it easily could bring into the light. There's nothing inherently insidious about the Gold Cup schedule being announced Tuesday, and Lord knows we don't need another of those over-done, hours-long shows where a musical act you've never heard of but somehow has 45 thousand Instagram followers does some song and dance and then women in tight clothing come out and explain the rules to overly curious former players.
Yet, it's time for CONCACAF to have a Gold Cup draw. Make it public, do the whole ceremony if you really have to. It shouldn't be all that hard to change. We even had one for the Copa America Centenario. CONCACAF already announces seeded teams – in a draw, you could just put the top teams into the first Pot and have them drawn into three groups, resulting in the big (and ticket-selling) teams still headlining the tournament's early stage.
Every other organization goes through with a draw, being as transparent as possible and showing that no team has been given an unfair advantage over another. It's a good thing.
The drawback is that CONCACAF might not make as much money. Perhaps it won't come to pass, but don't be surprised to see El Salvador in Group A where, along with Honduras, Houston is an appealing location. Jamaica could be there too, thanks to the large Jamaican population in the New York/New Jersey area hosting the first pair of matches.
Isn't that always the dilemma facing this confederation? You could do things ethically, or you could make more cash. Creative scheduling, though, could make this less of a factor. If the Houston, Los Angeles and Washington D.C. areas are spread out across the three group stages, you're going to have big crowds to see Honduras or El Salvador at one of the venues.
The deal with Soccer United Marketing that sees Mexico play in far-flung places around the United States shows El Tri can draw anywhere, and the host United States also will bring in big crowds no matter the host city.
Especially if CONCACAF continues to host the tournament in the U.S. every year, there shouldn't be any problem making money. So why obscure the matchup-making process?
The likely expansion of the tournament next time around gives the perfect occasion to implement a draw. CONCACAF should join the ranks of the other confederations and institute one for its continental championship.