Last month, El Salvador's national soccer federation banned 14 players for life from playing for the national team or in domestic club soccer for their roles in fixing several matches, including a friendly against the United States in 2010, a friendly against Paraguay this year, and a Gold Cup group stage game against Mexico in 2011.
Among the players banned are several former MLS players, including former Chivas USA midfielder Osael Romero.
Romero had been a fixture on the national team, as he participated in the last three Gold Cups for La Selecta, including this year's edition (where the United States defeated El Salvador in the knockout rounds, although there has been no public word on match fixing allegations concerning that game). He racked up 69 senior caps for El Salvador, scoring 16 goals in that time.
With so many players involved in the match fixing over a period of several years, it is unclear exactly what Romero's role was, but the friendly against the United States in 2010, a game that Romero started, came February 24, less than a month after his loan to Chivas USA was announced. The MLS season did not begin until March 26 that season for Chivas, but the winner in stoppage time for the USMNT came from Romero's eventual club teammate Sacha Kljestan. Of course, it must be noted there is no indication Romero was involved in match fixing with Chivas USA, and he returned to El Salvador to play club ball after his lone season with Chivas.
Although the process is not entirely settled yet, the situation looks pretty grim for Romero and the others who have been sanctioned. An article out of El Salvador earlier this month indicated that the banned players were appealing their punishments, and Romero's lawyer in particular claimed he was willing to take the fight all the way to the Supreme Court (Spanish).
However, on Monday FIFA reinforced FESFUT's domestic ban worldwide so that the players will not be allowed to play in any FIFA-sanctioned competitions, so unless the appeals are successful, Romero and his fellow banned compatriots are now officially personas non grata in global soccer.
Overall, it appears the scandal has effectively wiped out a generation of players on the national team, and has cast a pall over the country in the worldwide sporting arena. While many former Goats have gone on to play abroad or move into coaching roles, it looks like Romero's career has been abruptly ended at the age of 27, and it appears that he is entirely responsible for that turn of events.
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