Altidore out: U.S. striker Jozy Altidore, as expected, is out of the Gold Cup after being stretchered off with a hamstring injury last weekend against Jamaica (AP Photo).
*Jozy Altidore’s international career was rapidly moving toward irrelevancy until his two goals in the Gold Cup hinted yet again at his still as yet unfulfilled promise.
So this is not good news:
HOUSTON (AP) — U.S. forward Jozy Altidore will miss the rest of the Gold Cup soccer tournament with a strained hamstring, and will be sidelined from 4 to 6 weeks.
Altidore has scored two of the Americans’ six goals in the event. He was hurt in the ninth
minute of the 2-0 victory against Jamaica on Sunday.
The U.S. plays Panama in the first Gold Cup semifinal tonight at Reliant Stadium. The
final is Saturday at the Rose Bowl.
Altidore appeared to be regaining his dangerous form in front of the goal after struggling to get playing time with his European club teams last season. Altidore’s two goals tied him with Clint Dempsey for the team lead.
Party over: Bribery allegations against CONCACAF’s former head Jack Warner have merit according to a report leaked to the Associated Press.
*On the (sorta) flip side, while this, I suppose, is not good news, it’s not unexpected in any way shape or form – and who would have thought former FIFA President Jack Warner was – ahem – “self-serving”:
GENEVA (AP) — FIFA had “compelling” evidence that Mohamed bin Hammam and Jack Warner conspired to bribe voters in the organization’s presidential election before it suspended them from world soccer’s governing body.
FIFA’s ethics committee concluded that the allegations bin Hammam offered $40,000 cash payments to Caribbean officials “constitute prima facie an act of bribery.”
A report into Warner’s case, seen by The Associated Press, said the then-FIFA vice president was an accessory to bribery who offered “mere self-serving declarations” at a hearing last month.
The 17-page document was sent last week to Warner, a 28-year veteran of FIFA’s ruling
executive committee who led the North, Central American and Caribbean regional body since 1990.
Days later, the Trinidad and Tobago government minister quit his soccer positions while
insisting that he would have been “fully exonerated by any objective arbiter.”
The damning language in the ethics panel’s report stands out in contrast to FIFA’s official
stance on Warner’s investigation, which was dropped on Monday.
FIFA said it no longer had legal authority to pursue Warner and that he kept “the presumption of innocence.”
FIFA declined to comment Wednesday on the leaked report, which was first revealed by Britain’s Press Association news agency.
Warner issued a statement claiming the document was circulated by “pathologically mendacious” people within FIFA who would “stop at no length to destroy my legacy.”
“Let me once again reiterate for the sake of those with hidden agendas; I, Jack Warner, did not partake in the distribution of any cash gifts to my members,” the former Caribbean Football Union leader said.
Calls to Warner’s lawyer in Trinidad, Om Lalla, were not answered.
Bin Hammam and Warner were summoned to appear before FIFA’s ethics committee on May 29, and provisionally suspended based on a dossier of evidence relating to the Qatari candidate’s campaign visit to meet CFU members at a hotel in Port of Spain, Trinidad.
Hours before the hearing, bin Hammam withdrew from the election scheduled for four days later against FIFA President Sepp Blatter.
The ethics panel, headed by Namibian judge Petrus Damaseb, studied witness statements from officials representing four Caribbean federations who were allegedly offered brown envelopes stuffed with $100 bills after hearing bin Hammam’s election pitch on May 10.
“It appears rather compelling to consider that the actions of Mr. bin Hammam constitute prima facie an act of bribery, or at least an attempt to commit bribery,” the report said.
The panel found “comprehensive, convincing and overwhelming evidence” that Warner arranged the meeting specifically to enable corruption. It was “impossible” to think Warner was unaware of the payments and their intention to influence how CFU members voted.
“Consequently, the accused (Warner) would at least be considered as an accessory to the aforementioned violations,” the report said.
Officials from the Bahamas, Bermuda, Cayman Islands and Turks and Caicos Islands provided witness statements that were “coherent, credible and detailed,” the panel decided.
*Lastly, the PDL Ventura County Fusion has announced it will play a 3 p.m. July 17 exhibition at Oxnard College against England’s West Bromwich Albion. Tickets start at $15 in advance. Details here.