Sports — 08 July 2011 — by Charles X
There is a big football mess in Belize. And FIFA is at fault.
Left to our own devices, we might not be no. 1 in football in Central America and the Caribbean, but we would surely not be in the mess we are presently in, if not for the failure of FIFA, through its various organs and persons of authority in the region, to do what is right, according to the stated goals, objectives and standards of FIFA.
When a nation whose “national team” is in such a strong position of advancing in a FIFA World Cup qualifier, as Belize is in right now, for that nation to forego that opportunity and declare its willingness to endure suspension from FIFA, in the interest of demanding “fair play” and upright behavior from its national football executives, then something is very, very wrong indeed. Either the government is wrong to “intervene” in football, as FIFA likes to put it; or the Belize national football executive (FFB) are a hopelessly inadequate and corrupt bunch, and need to remove themselves or be removed from the football picture in Belize.
FIFA has acted halfway towards the latter position, by suspending the FFB on June 17; but its condition of lifting the suspension, that “government reverses its decision” to de-certify the FFB, is not acceptable, and betrays the fatal flaw in FIFA’s approach to governing football across borders. It is this flaw that has eroded the image of FIFA, and that has led to situations that now bedevil the CONCACAF executive leadership, and has also smeared the recent FIFA election process.
For nearly a decade, the football community in Belize has tried to remove the present FFB President through all the constitutional avenues afforded by FIFA. But every attempt has been thwarted using often blatantly illegal tactics, which have received the blessing of FIFA’s representative in CONCACAF, then President Jack Warner. Now that Warner himself has been suspended by FIFA, and then resigned, it is incumbent on FIFA President Blatter to call for an investigation into the alleged corrupt, dictatorial and unconstitutional behavior of the FFB President. The whole football family (community) in Belize has reached the end of their patience; that is why there is no hue and cry for the government to “leave the FFB alone”. Instead, the Belizean “football family” has practically begged the government to “intervene”, and resigned itself to undergo the ultimate football sacrifice, forfeiting a chance to participate in the World Cup qualifier process. Is this what FIFA wants?
This ball is now in FIFA’s territory, and that of newly re-elected President Sepp Blatter. Belize has gone nowhere in football during this past ten years of Warner endorsed corruption and mismanagement in Belize football. And our game and football organization is in a mess, thanks to FIFA’s prolonged reluctance to intervene.
The awesome power that FIFA invests in its national federation presidents is just too much, not to have effective safeguards in place to serve as a “check and balance” against their becoming corrupt dictators. If FIFA only listens to its federation presidents, how will it know when a president is doing wrong?
FIFA’s intervention in suspending the FFB on June 17 is not enough; because FIFA is demanding that the situation be returned to the status quo. Belizeans feel completely betrayed by that position. To act in the best interest of football in Belize, FIFA needs to take positive emergency action. The Belize government did not act arbitrarily; it appointed an Investigating Committee. Should FIFA, in the interest of the “beautiful game,” review that committee’s findings, or also appoint its own investigating committee, the odds are overwhelmingly in favor of them discovering ample justification for suspending both FFB President Dr. Bertie Chimilio and Vice President Mr. Bernaldino Pech, and set the stage for new and proper elections for a national football executive in Belize, whether under the banner of the FFB (Football Federation of Belize), its forerunner the BNFA (Belize National Football Association), or the recently convened NFAB (National Football Association of Belize).
This ghastly mess that is presently the football scene in Belize, despite all our tremendous natural talent, is the result of FIFA’s regional agent accommodating and giving legitimacy to a corrupt and ineffective Belize football leadership. Now that the protector of the culprits is gone (Warner suspended), we are not looking for FIFA to come to the aid of the culprits, but instead to come and help clean up this mess, so that football can again find happiness and growth in Belize.
It may be true that, in a sense, government has intervened in Belize football, to the extent that it has “decertified” the FFB, but that decision was based on the failures of the FFB to abide by the sporting laws of Belize. It is now up to the global football body, FIFA, to step up and really intervene in Belize football; but not on the side of those that created this mess, but in the interest of clearing up the mess.
In little Belize, through our own trials and tribulations with the present leadership in football, we have a very good idea of what corruption is; and we are looking to FIFA President Blatter to show by his actions that FIFA is serious about improving its image and lending a helping hand where its members show a desire to clean out corruption and get their football house in order.
As an afterthought, it might come as a surprise to President Blatter that, even with the largesse of FIFA’s financial generosity to the FFB, the Belize football family is still not happy. That is because, Mr. Blatter, the football family in Belize is likened to a stressed out household where the abusive husband receives a big, fat paycheck, but it all goes to the sweetheart, while only a few meagre crumbs reach his starving children. We haven’t been “feeling it” in Belize, so only a select few will miss the massive FIFA grants. That’s why Belizeans are facing the suspension without great panic or heartbreak; those with little have little to lose. Rather, there is a sense of relief, and a resolve to start over again, after ridding ourselves of this yoke of corruption and stagnation in our football.
(P.S. Thursday, July 7. A temporary lifting of the suspension today by FIFA opens a little window of time to perform the necessary surgery on our FFB patient; but for the operation to be successful, FIFA will need to send a good football “doctor”.)
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Sports — 05 July 2011 — by Charles X
There is a big football mess in Belize. And FIFA is at fault.
Left to our own devices, we might not be no. 1 in football in Central America and the Caribbean, but we would surely not be in the mess we are presently in, if not for the failure of FIFA, through its various organs and persons of authority in the region, to do what is right, according to the stated goals, objectives and standards of FIFA…..
This ghastly mess that is presently the football scene in Belize, despite all our tremendous natural talent, is the result of FIFA’s regional agent accommodating and giving legitimacy to a corrupt and ineffective Belize football leadership. Now that the protector of the culprits is gone (Warner suspended), we are not looking for FIFA to come to the aid of the culprits, but instead to come and help clean up this mess, so that football can again find happiness and growth in Belize…
(The complete article in Friday’s edition.)