Thursday, August 18, 2011


I am very late to this party.

Discussing Chuck Blazer with friends during D.C. United's terrific home performance against the Vancouver Whitecaps led one of them to note, "You haven't heard the story about the CONCACAF credit card and Scores?"

I had not and, as such, had missed Mel Brennan's excellent description of what it is like to be the General Secretary and Treasurer of CONCACAF. The outrage and disappointment Mr. Brennan felt on his first day on the job is palpable:

The [American Express Centurion credit] card existed on the back of the aggregated wealth of CONCACAF; the everyday commitment to football made by the people of CONCACAF’s forty nations (and the subsequent investment television broadcasters and advertisers make in football to reach those audiences, and the resultant sales they expect to garner from those audiences) made it possible.

And it was in Chuck’s name. And it just paid for food, strippers/dancers, and a set of massages.

That’s what the General Secretary and Treasurer of CONCACAF, the FIFA Executive from North America, spent the region’s money on…regularly.

Brennan's imagery is of gluttony unbound; of a man distinguished more by his avoirdupois than his professional achievements paying for women to pretend that they see past the folds with funds intended to promote the world's game in the region.

As much as Andrew Jennings (correctly) hangs the devastating public airing of Mr. Blazer's perfidiousness around the big man's neck, it is the picture painted by Brennan that should stick with people when Blazer tweets his congratulations to the U.S. Women's National Team for their good work. And that portrait should entirely eclipse any characterization of the man as an intrepid whistle blower willing to sacrifice the trappings of power for principle.

It is almost enough to make one eager for the coming reckoning.

Yet, there are far worse things than feckless executives with a taste for silicon.

Based on one of Bill Archer's recent posts, I picked up and read Stewart Bell's "Bayou of Pigs."

It was well worth the time, because it would otherwise be impossible to fully appreciate the insanity of Patrick John's role in international football.

Less than two months ago, Mr. John was handed another four year term as the head of the Dominica Football Association. The absence of Mr. John's name from the list of CFU officials under investigation -- following his decision to provide a sworn affidavit to FIFA during the 48-hour "come to Jesus" window -- would seem to indicate that there is a good chance that he'll finish out the new term.

Or perhaps not; not because he'll face discipline from FIFA, but because the boundless ambition of a small man has led him to eye bigger and better things.

If you click through the link and read the article, let that sink in for a moment. Mr. John moots his name as a potential replacement for Jack Warner at the top echelons of FIFA leadership while simultaneously declaring an undying love and affection for a man that is supposed to have nothing to do with international football. Mr. John's love letter to his forlorn friend reads:

"I would just like to tell him that he has been my friend and we will continue to be friends. I respect his decision to pull out from the football arena, but as a member of CONCACAF and CFU, I will still be in touch with him. I will continue to get his assistance and expertise in moving Dominica forward, as it relates to football."
The thought that Patrick John, enshrined by Jack Warner into the CONCACAF Hall of Fame in 2007, might be a serious candidate for promotion within FIFA is mind-boggling.

Patrick John was convicted of hiring a mercenary group composed of Ku Klux Klan members and neo-Nazis to violently overthrow the elected government of his country. He spent almost a decade in prison because of the crime. Per Bell's reporting, Mr. John defended himself in court against the charges using a line of argumentation that may have foreshadowed his participation in FIFA:

"It was only two thousand years ago when evidence of untruths and half truths, evidence contrived for obvious reasons and designed and created by persons with special interests, was given against a man who was charged with conspiracy to overthrow a government and install himself as king, and the court then condemned [him] and found an innocent man guilty. They raised and praised and claimed a murderer, Barrabas, and set him free, giving him all he desired, and up to today, descendents are living with the consciences. I am not guilty and I am totally and completely innocent of any charge."
The "Bayou of Pigs" story is incredible; it exemplifies the maxim that truth is, indeed, stranger than fiction. That Patrick John -- who owes his position to the machinations of Jack Warner to depose the legitimately elected former officers of the association -- has now cemented his involvement in the governance of international football is an equally incredible story. And they are both stories that every person interested in football in the CONCACAF region should know.

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