The international governing body of soccer FIFA have announced they have suspended USMNT and Seattle Sounders forward Clint Dempsey for the next four matches after making a Panamanian soccer fan cry Tuesday night.
The incident, which was not apart of the referee’s initial report, occurred thirty nine minutes into the match after Dempsey scored the lone goal for the US.
Following the goal, a Panamanian fan watching the game at Estadio Rommel Fernandez began to cry in their seat. The fan, believed to be an adult male, believed that Dempsey had sought out to hurt his feelings by “scoring a goal right in front of his face” and “bringing shame on goalkeeper Jaime Penedo.”
The fan’s situation quickly rose the ladder Tuesday night before landing on the desk of a high-ranking CONCACAF official. The official then relayed the information he had gathered to an official at FIFA.
The FIFA official, believed to be Osaka Analphish, then informed CONCACAF and the USMNT early Wednesday morning that the body had ruled that Dempsey will be suspended for the next four international fixtures.
In a statement released following the suspension announcement, FIFA stated that Dempsey’s actions during the Panama games “were reckless and put the feelings of many in attendance at risk.”
“Suffice it to say, I do not agree with FIFA’s decision,” said USMNT head coach Bruce Arenas. “If Dempsey needs to be suspended just because he happened to make a fan cry then why don’t the feelings of Honduras fans matter. Pretty sure Dempsey’s hat trick created a new lake or two in Honduras last weekend when all was said and done.”
The USMNT plans to appeal the suspension in the coming days though it’s unlikely that it will be overturned. If upheld, Clint Dempsey will be suspended for the remainder of World Cup qualification.