Thursday, August 4, 2011

Getting the Word Out

I am headed up to NYC this weekend and am thinking about stopping by Belson Stadium on Sunday to see where the Red Storm play and catch my first USL PRO game of the season (having not followed through on my intent to go see a match in Harrisburg or Richmond).

Proving once again that the "USL PRO is the strongest, most sophisticated and most experienced North American men’s professional soccer league below MLS, both on and off the field," FC New York's web-site contains virtually no information about the club. Because nothing says that you're "[f]ocused on franchise stability and longevity" like being incapable of telling (or unwilling to tell) the general public anything useful about your professional franchise.

But sifting through the rubble of Queens' answer to Crystal Palace Baltimore led me to a press release that I had missed two weeks ago (that, for some reason, refers you to FC New York's embarrassing web-site): FC New York will be the first professional team to visit Guyana since Hull City dropped by in 1974.
Garth Nelson, on behalf of the Guyana Football Federation and President Colin Klass, wrote that the GFF “would like to invite F.C. New York to participate in a three games tour in Guyana. The venture will be a positive boost to Guyana’s football.”
If after over two decades of autocratic rule, Colin Klass was finally able to bring a professional team as esteemed as FC New York to Guyana, imagine what he will be able to do with another twenty years in office?

Because the press release contains the same delusional self-promotion that has permeated much of the USL (“With this trip I hope we can gain even more positive exposure as F.C. New York continues to grow globally”), it is a frustrating read. But the tie to Mr. Klass, and the FO's decision to include a side-trip to Trinidad to face Caledonia AIA, is a heck of a way to pay tribute to your Caribbean fans while standing next to regimes that are attempting to foment a conflict with a NYC-based member of the U.S. Soccer Federation.

Just a week prior to F.C. New York's announcement of its February 2012 tour, Mr. Klass came out publicly in support of Lisle Austin's call for an audit of CONCACAF finances. With an unimpeachable history of high minded civic service and an unwavering commitment to transparency, Mr. Klass decreed:
"We must anchor our ship or we will forever be lost, we cannot submit ourselves to the tyranny of a minority, the audit must be done now," Klass said.

"While I will not cast aspersions on the questionable characters of those who have foisted themselves in leadership positions and those who have scarified our names and our soldiers for their own political ambitions, I will describe the delaying tactics of the CONCACAF Exco (executive committee) and its general secretary (Chuck Blazer) on this matter as very strange. Why is this happening?"

He added: "Could it be that Chuck Blazer is attempting to perpetuate a culture of secrecy at the organisation to prevent a true accounting of what has gone on at CONCACAF during his tenure?

"Is there credibility to claims that this review would unravel and expose the lavish lifestyles of certain employees funded by CONCACAF accounts"?

Everything I have read about Mr. Blazer indicates that he should not elicit a great deal of sympathy from American soccer supporters and that he has, in point of fact, managed to provide for himself very well (thank you) off of the back of the beautiful game in the region. But he has also been instrumental in the advancement of the sport in this market and a substantial increase in revenues attendant to the development of the game -- something that Mr. Warner and his cohorts, particularly Mr. Klass, cannot similarly claim.

I read comments from CFU folks like Mr. Klass and wonder how things within FIFA have been driven so ludicrously through the looking glass that grown men stand around pointing fingers at each other and loudly decrying illicit actions of which they have also been alleged to have undertaken. It must be like a support group for adulterers where the members are required to lambaste one another for their infidelity in public scoldings.

But the story of Jack Warner, Colin Klass, Horace Burrell, Lisle Austin, and the rest may just be a story of the disinterest of the cadre of select journalists and commentators that cover soccer in the United States.

F.C. New York can announce a trip to Guyana, organized under the benevolence of one Colin Klass, because (1) F.C. New York's travel plans aren't exactly page 1 news in Metropolis and (2) for those that do care, the name Colin Klass likely does not register.

My shock and dismay at FIFA outs me as a naive ingenue when confronted with the hue and cry marshaled by Bill Archer on the subject. I mean, my gall man, this is the Patrick John I have been referring to in past posts? This is the guy that is running Dominica's FA? How is this not mentioned each and every time Mr. John's name comes up or he surfaces to comment on anything related to FIFA?

Now would seem to be the appropriate time to connect those dots. If reports are correct, Mr. Klass gave inaccurate information to investigators regarding his knowledge of what took place during Bin Hammam's visit to Port of Spain. That should mean that the non-voting member of CONCACAF's Executive Committee will be in for some unwanted attention over the next few months. And that should also mean that outlets that have more than five people reading them a day have the opportunity to educate soccer fans about the officials that currently have a stranglehold on football in the Caribbean.

No comments:

Post a Comment