Members of the Belize national team told a local Belize television station the day before the game that they had been approached by a man who had
befriended them during a recent friendly in Guatemala, met them at a mall near their hotel in Portland and tried unsuccessfully to get them to agree to manipulate Tuesday's USA-Belize match. One of
the players was Ian Gaynair
, who scored the lone Jaguar goal in the 6-1 loss to the USA in Belize's Gold Cup debut Tuesday at JELD-WEN Stadium.
Today 7news: "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. Then as he said that
my entire features changed and I just felt a different way, I felt really uncomfortable just to be around the guy because I was already aware about the 'match fixing' and I know that I could get
banned for life. He saw that my features changed and he saw that we weren't into it so he got frightened and took out a large amount of money to bribe us, a lot of $100 and $50 bills and threw it at
us on the table and told us to keep it and to not say anything and to keep the money. Like I told him, 'We can't take that money' because at the end of the day our entire country is behind us and we
just made history for these big games so we can't just sell out our country for a little bit of money. At the end of the day, we might not be making a lot of money in Belize but still we have to look
at our career and our future."
According to Today 7news, the agreement the Belizean players -- all but two of whom are amateurs -- have with the Football Federation of Belize to
play in the Gold Cup is that they get $250 per match and $75 per diem, plus a participation fee of about $2,500.
There was no immediate comment from Concacaf about the players' story,
though it is not inconsistent with other match-fixing scenarios -- players making little or no money are first befriended, often while playing abroad, and are later shown piles of cash to fix a game
or manipulate the score.
It is not the first time there has been charges of match-fixing related to the Gold Cup.
Then-FIFA head of security Chris Eaton told
SI.com's Grant Wahl
2011 that there was information that matches in the Gold Cup involving Cuba, Grenada and El Salvador were manipulated