Thursday, June 9, 2011


All that time trying to understand Dutch last night and all I had to do was wait a few hours and let Simon Evans catch up with the press in the Netherlands. Suriname's Louis Giskus not only once again confirms the fact that gifts were given, but has strong words characterizing Jack Warner's actions:

Giskus said the invitation to the meeting, from Warner, stated that all transport and accommodation costs would be covered by the CFU, although later Bin Hammam said in a statement that he covered the expenses of the meeting.

"Warner wrote in the invitation that all the expenses would be paid by CFU," he said. "My conclusion is that he was lying. If you say that all expenses paid by CFU and later we hear that Mr Bin Hammam says he paid all the expenses then Mr Warner was lying."

The timing of Evans' article could not be better as it comes the same day as Barbados' Lisle Austin's suspension from CONCACAF was extended for football activities throughout the world by FIFA while the Barbados Football Association's gambit extended to a strained public statement from President Ronald Jones (who is also the Minister of Education on the island) declaring the Association's virginal virtues:

The Barbados Football Association makes it pellucid that none of its delegates were offered any inducements or gifts to support any of the candidates during the meeting on the 10th of May in Trinidad. Our delegates listened to the Speeches by Mohamed Bin Hamman, who was there to make a case as to why he would need the support of FIFA members of the CFU.
But the statement contains some notable wiggle room and leaves open the option of hanging the association's General Secretary, David Hinds, out to dry:
The General Secretary of the BFA has already responded to FIFA Ethics Committee at a meeting in Zurich over the past week. He maintained that he was not aware of any inducements offered to delegates at the meeting. He further explained that he was not in any position to state if any inducements were offered to any other delegates of any Caribbean Federation or Association.

The comments of the General Secretary of the BFA remain the position of the BFA on this matter. As President of the Association, I am positive that our delegates operated with the highest level of integrity and professionalism as I would have expected of any member of the BFA’s Executive.

Bizarrely, the issued statement comes shortly after President Jones is reported to have penned a letter to other CFU members noting the stakes. Jones' letter reportedly opined:
"Comrades, we are on the brink of self inflicted destruction. It was never supposed to be like this. The legacy of Caribbean society and our various struggles over time should have taught us many lessons. Sad to say these lessons seemed to have been forgotten or sacrificed as persons scatter to seek their own comfort and survival."
I'm not sure how issuing statements declaring your own innocence helps the collective but that's probably fairly representative of the CFU.

Separate and apart from Jones' exhortations, many of his CFU colleagues aren't necessarily in a position to circle the wagons. Guyana is apparently in the "see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil" camp of the Union, but the nation's football federation likely has more pressing problems. The Georgetown Football Association, a constituent member of of the Guyana Football Federation, has sought the assistance of domestic courts in an effort to halt the re-election of the Federation's incumbent President, Colin Klass. Klass is reportedly in the United States for the Gold Cup -- not because he is assisting FIFA's inquiry -- and the GFA's complaints are said to arise from their opposition to Klass's leadership and their inability to nominate a challenger.

Some recent leadership battles in the CFU have led to regime change. The U.S. Virgin Islands Soccer Association's longtime President Derrick Martin was kicked out of his post in December by an 8 to 1 vote from the Executive Committee after Martin reportedly refused to answer questions from members regarding the Association's finances. The questions raised, on their face, seem to be significant:

The USVI Soccer Association was founded in 1992 and because it is one of the 208 member associations of FIFA, it receives $250,000 every year to be invested purely on developmental projects like women's soccer, Futsal, refereeing, medical programs and more.

Since Martin has been at the helm, the association has received over $1 million and Martin said the latest $250,000 installment came in September.

The USVI Soccer Association has never organized a recreation youth soccer league, a women's soccer league or Futsal, which is a type of soccer that is played on a smaller playing surface or on the beach. An adult coed league did not happen on St. Thomas this past season and Martin said there has not been a USVI Soccer Association presence on St. John for the last three years.
And, apparently, CONCACAF starts to get concerned about where the money is going after an association fails to hold an annual congress for three years and has most recently reported its financial information in 2007.

But maybe the shenanigans of the Trinidadian/Barbados/Jamaican leadership of the CFU may pay off in the end. After CFU members refused to go to Miami, FIFA will now conduct its inquiry in The Bahamas from June 14th to the 15th. The CFU has also lawyered up and engaged the services of New Zealand's Colin Henry; notably Henry will also be representing a minority of CFU's member associations: Trinidad & Tobago; Barbados; Jamaica; Guyana; Grenada; Dominica; the Cayman Islands; Antigua & Barbuda; St. Kitts & Nevis; St. Lucia; and St. Vincent & the Grenadines (11 of the 25).

CFU gathered its members in Trinidad this past Tuesday to plot a way forward. Some closing of ranks is undoubtedly occurring. But that's perhaps what makes Mr. Giskus's continued public commentary all the more remarkable. Whatever lines have been drawn, some folks are crossing them. More should follow.

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