A hint; it’s not just because of the referees.
The CONCACAF GoldCup was just first held in 1991, thirty years after CONCACAF was established back in 1961 . Before that, the then called CONCACAF Championship was played every two years, with different countries playing host, among them El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras and Trinidad and Tobago.
Out of the ten times the CONCACAF Championship was played, six different nations were conceived winners. Only Costa Rica and Mexico repeated tittles (three times each), while the United States never won the tournament.
In a preamble of the 1994 FIFA World Cup, CONCACAF decided to spin-off the tournament, change its name, and host it in the United States, where it has been played ever since (with some matches being played in Mexico and Canada).
In this new format, the United States achieved the tittle five times, Mexico six and Canada once.
That means that the previous denominated North American Football Confederation (NAFC) has won every single title of the CONCACAF Gold Cup. Little funny eh?
#1) It’s played in July!
Just like the African Cup of Nations, the tournament is played in an odd schedule, completely out of sync with the major European leagues.
July is what should be vacation time for players that are in those major leagues and have been playing non stop for months.
To make matters worse, it is played at least ONE MONTH after the leagues have ended.
For teams and players not actively participating in other tournaments in the middle (like Jamaica and Mexico that played in Copa America in June), catching up from a month of no competition is never easy.
#2) The prizes are just ridiculous!
The winning team of the CONCACAF Gold Cup is set to receive $1 million, with $500,000 $200,000 and $150,000 going to the second, third and fourth place teams. Teams finishing in the quarterfinal stage receive $125,000 each, and the 9th-12th placed teams will earn $100,000.
Let’s compare that to the Copa America ,
According to Forbes, the top four teams were set to receive a combined $10 million, with $4 million to the winners Chile, and Argentina, Peru and Paraguay owed $3 million, $2 million and $1 million, respectively.
Make the math!
#3) Best players are NEVER available to play
I have to be honest here, I am too lazy to do the research, but I can say for sure, that the Keylor Navas situation has happened often in the past and for all teams.
It does not take a genius to know the best teams are prepping for the season on July and want to have all their players on the training pitch.
#4) There is just too much economic presure to get Mexico and /or United States playing through the end
About 68,000 tickets were sold for the games at the Georgia Dome this Wednesday. A game between Costa Rica and Haiti would probably sell a third of that.
Thinking strictly business, having the two most followed teams just makes sense. That takes us to reason number 5.
#5) It’s always hosted in the United States
It is by no means a coincidence that Uruguay, Italy, Argentina, England and France all obtained WorldCup titles at home.
The Home condition does play an amazing role at Football, United States and Mexico (having an enormous amount of immigrants in American soil) have capitalized on that.
Yes, twenty-five years ago only United States could hold such a tournament, but today countries like Panama and Costa Rica have decent stadiums where to hold the matches.
Who says fans from Mexico and United States won’t take the opportunity to take some vacation and combining tourism with watching some games?
A lot has changed since the 1980’s in the Central American region.
If the CONCACAF teams (including Mexico, currently being criticized because of the controversial referee calls in recent games) want to improve and fight the top spots of the world football, the GoldCup needs to change completely or better yet, be cancelled and spun-off, once more.