Washington, July 13 (ANI): The players of the national football team of Belize have been commended after they refused an allegedly large sum of money to throw a match against the US at the tournament.
Already a fan favourite at the Gold Cup given its underdog tag, Belize, which borders Mexico and Guatemala, have gained even more supporters after two of its players, Woodrow West and Ian Gaynair, told Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) officials about the incident, CNN reports.
According to a statement from CONCACAF, an investigation was launched which led to a 'positive identification' of the individual attempting the bribery, adding that the body thanked and recognized West and Gaynair for their bravery and commitment in preserving the integrity of the game.
The report further said that the man offering the money first met team members in Guatemala and attempted to befriend them, adding that he met the players at a mall near the team hotel two days before the game against the Gold Cup host.
Stating that the man told them that they do not have a chance to beat the US, Gaynair said that he wanted to promise him that they would lose the game for which he would give them a large amount of money to change their lives in Belize and help their families.
Gaynair further said that the man got frightened after he became aware of their reluctance, following which, he took out a lot of hundred and fifty dollar bills, threw them on the table and told them to keep them and not to say anything about the matter.
According to Gaynair, he and West refused the money as they dids not have it in their hearts to sell their country for a little bit of money, and the report said that the action was even more commendable as a majority of Belize's players are part-timers and the team needed to hold fundraisers to help cover costs.
Belize, 130th in the FIFA rankings, would go on to lose 6-1 to the US in Portland in its tournament debut Wednesday.
However, the report added, although the actions of the Belize internationals will be fully applauded, the approach raises concerns about the seemingly easy access to players. (ANI)