In the long awaited news that everyone has been waiting for, CONCACAF's disciplinary committee has announced that Jurgen Klinsmann will serve a one-match suspension for being ejected from the technical area in the USA's Gold Cup semifinal vs. Honduras. By rule, the suspension can not appealed
Klinsmann will serve the ban on Sunday, in the Gold Cup final as the USA takes on Panama from Solider Field in Chicago.
I don't even care about the decision, because it is probably the right one. Klinsmann overreacted while protecting his players and showed up a referee and acted in an unprofessional manner, which I sure he doesn't dispute. Regardless of said referee's performance on the day, Costa Rican center ref Walter Quesada clearly lost control of the match in the second half and failed to use his authority to stop the physical nature of some of Honduras' late fouls, the referee's decision must be respected.
Here's what can not stand: CONCACAF's handling of the ejection.
First, Grant Wahl of SI/Fox Soccer is given poor information from CONCACAF's press officer and is told Klinsmann is out for the final, which CONCACAF later rescinds and says there will be a hearing. OK, not the worst start. But hold on, an 11-man committee will instead decide conduct a hearing on the matter. Why does it take 11 guys almost two days to decide something so simple? Unless there's some overriding evidence that Klinsmann didn't violently spike/throw a soccer ball, what was there to decide?
Without looking up rules for coaches being ejected in other leagues and continental federations, why wasn't Klinsmann suspended from the beginning? Any time a player/coach is ejected or red carded they serve an automatic one game suspension? Why does CONCACAF feel the need to be different than everyone else?
Then, if you're going to have this disciplinary committee meeting, WHY IS IT BEING FINALIZED LESS THAN TWO DAYS BEFORE THE MATCH! This should have been done yesterday in fairness to the United States Men's National Team so that they can adequately prepare for the game, and regardless of the team, I would say the same thing. I understand that there are referee reports and footage to gather, but why wasn't this announced at noon yesterday? We live in an age with the internet, e-mail, Skype, cell phones yet it takes days to get people in a room to discuss simple matters. CONCACAF took so long to make a decision that the next work the broadcasts the Gold Cup, FOX/FoxSoccer, felt obligated to update everyone around 8PM EST and say that CONACACAF hadn't made a decision yet.
Why CONCACAF needs to take 48 hours to review a matter that SHOULD ALREADY BE FINALIZED is beyond me. The rules, at least as I know them, are usually very clear: a red card/ejection equals suspension. Now if there's an appeals process for to rescind or overturn the red card/ejection, and the USSF had asked the matter to be reviewed, that's fine. But they'd already be preparing to have Martin Vazquez on the bench for the Gold Cup final. Instead the USMNT is put in limbo for 48 hours over what should have been a non-story.
I don't think the USMNT will miss Klinsmann on the sideline for the final. While his lineups and substitutions have been spot on in the tournament, so much preparation goes into each and every game that I'm sure his influence on the squad that has been dismantling the region in recent months. The players on the field, notably veterans Landon Donovan and DaMarcus Beasley should be able to communicate and identify tactical issues and other instructions from the sideline.
If I were CONCACAF, I'd be having a fairly large overhaul of my policies at some point before the end of the year. It shouldn't take dozens of commentators and journalists hours to decipher a rule that shouldn't exist in the first place, and then days for that rule to be implemented.
Even if CONCACAF got the decision right, and in my opinion the did the right (and only) thing in suspending Klinsmann, they got everything else surrounding the decision wrong. And that has to change.