Mexico game at Gold Cup was fixed, says Panama FA chief Pedro Chaluja

Panama Football Federation president Pedro Chaluja believes his side's controversial 2-1 loss to Mexico was fixed, and has called on FIFA and CONCACAF to examine possible match-fixing at the Gold Cup.

Chaluja said Costa Rica joined Panama's petition to ask FIFA's regional governing body to investigate, and said they had the support of interim CONCACAF president Alfredo Hawit.

"Their president, Hawit, has expressed his support for us," Chaluja said in a news conference. "It is not just Panama asking for an investigation, it is Costa Rica as well."

Panama had already gone down to 10 men following a debatable red card but were leading 1-0 when Mexico were awarded a penalty in the 88th minute of their semifinal on Wednesday. Mexico later won in extra time.

It was the second straight game that Mexico were awarded a penalty in the final moments of the game, after also getting a call in stoppage time of extra time that led to the winner against Costa Rica in the quarterfinals.

"Sadly, we share the disillusion of having to call attention to the poor refereeing decisions that were deliberate and motivated by an intention to protect third parties," Chaluja said. "It is our perception that this match was fixed and not by the Mexican Football Federation but rather by others.

"These occurrences can only be cleared up if FIFA and CONCACAF hear our call and collaborate on a formal and thorough investigation into the circumstances that could have motivated referee Mark Geiger, circumstances that were so unfavorable for our country that we ended up being robbed of a victory and having our entire country's illusion shattered."

Chaluja said he spoke with Mexican Football Federation president Justino Compean, who said he also supported the necessary probe.

"Justino Compean is in agreement that the investigation should be done for the good of football and for the good of CONCACAF," Chaluja said.

CONCACAF issued a statement later on Friday and said they would discuss the matter on Saturday.

"CONCACAF has received the official requests from the Panamanian Football Federation and Costa Rican Football Federation and will review them carefully," the statement said. "The confederation takes these claims extremely seriously and will look into them immediately. As a first step toward addressing the request, this matter has been added to the agenda of tomorrow's CONCACAF Executive Committee meeting for discussion."

Chaluja added that the situation goes beyond the match and claimed that the outcome was revenge for Panama having voted against FIFA president Sepp Blatter in recent elections.

"Today someone told us that this has happened because we voted against Blatter. It is up to us to demand an investigation," he said

Andres Guadardo scored both controversial penalties and said on Thursday that he considered intentionally missing the kick against Panama.

Chaluja agreed that Mexico should have done something to avoid the result.

"I think Mexico had a great opportunity at Fair Play and they threw it away," he said.

Panama have already called for the removal of CONCACAF's entire referees committee.

Professional Referee Organization, which is responsible for overseeing professional referee programs in North America, on Thursday issued a strong statement in support of American referee Mark Geiger, who issued the penalty.

Chaluja told ESPN FC later on Friday the fact that Geiger was involved makes the decision even more troubling.

"Firstly, [I'm asking] that [CONCACAF] investigate what is happening at the Gold Cup in terms of the officiating," Chaluja said. "We've had a lot of complaints, irregularities that I believe warrant an investigation [and] a renewal of the refereeing system in CONCACAF.

"What is most troubling is that the referee designated for the game between Mexico and Panama on Wednesday is one of the highest-ranked referees in CONCACAF. If it had been an inconsistent referee, we would've said it was normal, but for a referee with an almost perfect performance to commit so many errors in one game is suspicious.

"I believe it is suspicious and should be investigated. There are external interests outside of CONCACAF, outside the federations. There are a lot of interests outside that could cause and influence this situation."

Regarding the attitude of the Panama players, who said they felt that they were robbed and did not respond in a correct manner, Chaluja said he understands their frustration.

"I can't blame the players for saying how they feel," Chaluja said in his news conference. "Their reaction is unavoidable. Leaving the pitch must have been awful. The coaching staff calmed them down."

Panama will face the United States in a third-place game on Saturday, while Jamiaca and Mexico play for the title on Sunday.

Later on Friday, CONCACAF announced the suspension of Panama goalkeeper Jaime Penedo and forward Luis Tejada for two games for their actions in the loss, ruling them out of the third-place game against the United States.

The LA Galaxy keeper was banned for pushing the referee after the final whistle, while Tejada, who had received a red card during the game, was punished additionally for not leaving the field "in a timely manner."

ESPN FC reporter Tom Marshall contributed to this report.