BELIZE CITY, Thurs. Oct. 29, 2020– “Silence deems consent?” “Da fool di talk, but da no fool di listen.”
We understand the mighty power of FIFA in anything to do with football; we acknowledge the tremendous amount of good, including its generous financial inputs, that FIFA does for the game in all countries, including Belize; we also know that even governments have their hands full when trying to tangle with the authority of FIFA; but here in little Belize we still think it is important, for the record, that the big officials of FIFA know that some of us here have serious problems with Mr. Mosenga-Omba’s letter of October 15 to FFB General Secretary Earl Jones, in which Mr. Mosenga-Omba declared that FFB’s Election Appeal Committee “has no competence” to decide that the August 22 FFB elections “are unlawful as well as ‘null and void,‘“ and “therefore is not admitted by FIFA.”
On various grounds, FIFA owes Belizean fans an explanation.
First of all; it is strange, disrespectful, really, that the ruling of a senior “Judicial” body of the Football Federation of Belize (FFB) can be so arbitrarily struck down by a single individual of FIFA, without reference to any “Judicial” arm of FIFA having weighed in on the matter. It is as if our Belize Court of Appeal makes a ruling in Belize in a case involving a minister of government; and that minister can have that ruling squashed by a letter from a single individual employed at the Caribbean Court of Justice, without any indication as to what legal arm of that august body sat in deliberation and came up with its findings to overturn the verdict of our Appeals Court.
Mr. Mosenga-Omba’s letter makes reference to certain articles of the FFB Statutes and the FFB electoral code, but his conclusions are unconvincing.
“art. 57 par. 2 of the FFB statutes” – In its entirety, this states: “The Appeal Committee is responsible for hearing appeals against decisions from the Disciplinary and Ethics Committee as well as the Electoral Committee that are not declared final by the relevant regulations of FFB.”
What Mr. Mosenga-Omba did not say, is that par. 3 of that same art. 57 states: “Decisions pronounced by the Appeal Committee may only be appealed to the CAS, or to a national and independent Arbitration Tribunal in accordance with the provisions in these Statutes.” (Ed. Note: CAS – Court of Arbitration for Sport)
So, how come he alone can decide that our FFB Appeal Committee “has no competence”?
Moreover, where “first instance” and “last instance” judicial bodies are concerned, it is granted that the vast majority of disputes should go to the “first instance” body, namely the Disciplinary and Ethics Committee for settlement, before any decisions there are taken for appeal to the “last instance” body, the Appeal Committee. But Mr. Mosengo-Omba manipulates this difference disingenuously.
“art. 59 of the FFB statutes” – Par. 1, which he quotes only partially, in its entirety reads: “Disputes in FFB or disputes affecting Members of FFB, Leagues, members of Leagues, Clubs, members of Clubs, Players, and Officials may only be referred in the last instance (i.e. after exhaustion of all internal channels within FFB) to an arbitration tribunal, which shall definitely settle the dispute to the exclusion of any ordinary court, unless expressly prohibited by the legislation in Belize.”
So, obviously, all those queries about game decisions, sanctions, fines, suspensions, registration issues, disputes among members, etc. etc. should in “the first instance” go to the Disciplinary and Ethics Committee. Note that this article makes no mention of elections and election appeals, but Mr. Mosengo-Omba conveniently attaches this to bolster his argument.
Deviously, Mr. Mosengo-Omba makes a reference to “art. 9 par. 1 of the FFB electoral code,” and then blatantly misquotes this by saying that it “specifically provide that the Election Appeal Committee is ‘responsible for hearing appeals against decisions […] from the Electoral Committee that are not declared final by the relevant regulations of FFB’ (emphasis added).”
Here is what art. 9 par. 1 of the FFB Electoral Code 2019 actually says:
“art. 9 par. 1 of FFB Electoral Code” – “Appeals against decisions of the Electoral Committee may be lodged only with the Election Appeal Committee, to the exclusion of the possibility of appealing said decisions before any other body, particularly a government body.” (Ed. Note – emphasis ours)
And for greater measure, check par. 6 of that same article, which Mr. Mosengo-Omba overlooks:
“art. 9 par. 6 of FFB Electoral Code” – “The decisions of the Election Appeal Committee shall be final and binding.”
How then, may we ask, can a letter from the “Chief Member Association Office” of FIFA, in the person of one Veron Mosengo-Omba, with no reference to any judicial body of FIFA or CONCACAF, serve to automatically erase the verdict of the Election Appeal Committee of the Football Federation of Belize (FFB)?
(AMANDALA Sports Ed. Note: The FFB Statutes 2019, FFB Electoral Code 2019 and FFB Disciplinary & Ethics Code 2019 are all available on the FFB web site at: www.footballfederationbelize.com. Just click on “About” and go to “Statutes and Regulations.”)