(Reuters) - CONCACAF, the governing body for soccer in North and Central America and the Caribbean, has implemented a "detailed" review of its refereeing department after several controversial decisions were made during the recent Gold Cup.
The review, which is already underway, will be personally overseen by CONCACAF's acting president Alfredo Hawit, who has 24 years of experience in referee administration, the organization said on Thursday.
"The foundation of our game is fair play, and we must take the required steps to reinforce the importance of this principle," Hawit said in a statement.
"This review will allow the Confederation to take the next step towards improving refereeing across the region."
According to CONCACAF, the review will include "an assessment of processes for determining referee assignments for each match" and a detailed evaluation of refereeing standards throughout the region.
Last week, the governing body said that "human errors" were "part of the game" after an officiating review of Panama's controversial Gold Cup semi-final loss to Mexico.
The Panama players were incensed by a last-minute penalty awarded to Mexico, which led to a late equalizer, before Mexico won 2-1 in extra time in Atlanta thanks to another penalty.
Panama claimed that American referee Geiger acted with the "clear intention of harming our eleven" in the match against Mexico on July 23, and that it was the "last straw" of a string of bad decisions throughout the tournament.
Costa Rica, which also lost to a late penalty by Mexico in the quarter-finals, said their team had been "directly affected by the poor work of the officials".
Panamanian goalkeeper Jaime Penedo and fellow player Luis Tejada were suspended for two matches and the nation's federation fined by the CONCACAF Gold Cup disciplinary committee following that semi-final defeat.
(Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles; Editing by Frank Pingue)