Report: Belize national team players approached to throw U.S. match
7 News Belize reports members of the Belize national soccer team were approached by a man attempting to coerce them to help throw their CONCAF Gold Cup match against the United States Tuesday night in Portland. The U.S. won the match, 6-1.
Belize team members Andres Makin Jr., Ian Gaynair and Woodrow West told 7 News Belize the man in question first met them in Guatemala where he attempted to befriend them, called them while the team was in Portland and met them at a Portland mall near the team hotel prior to the match.
“The man asked me a lot of questions and the man asked me how much money I made in Belize and I told him we make a certain amount of money. Then he told me that that isn’t any kind of money and he kept asking questions and questions and only about money he was talking about and that is when he pulled ‘Yolo’ aside and told him that he didn’t want to talk to me only to Yolo and Woodrow.”
“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 hundred and fifty dollar 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.”
“That is what I explained to the man – I made him understand that we’re not into taking money from him or anything like that, and we’re here for our country – regardless if we’re in the U.S.A but we’re not into that none at all. He got frightened and we walked – Yolo walked away and I followed him because I didn’t want to stay back there so when we went he chased us and grabbed us and told us not to tell anyone; and that if we didn’t tell anyone – that when we got to Belize he would give us $10,000 euros. We are Belizeans and that is what we’re doing out here – to represent our country and to me Woodrow West and being loyal to my country – that bigger than any amount of money that they can ever give me and that is why I stood firm and Thank God we had that strength to deny this man because he was really into giving us a large amount of money.”