BELIZE CITY, Wed. June 17, 2020– Football Federation of Belize (FFB) General Secretary, Earl Jones was the man on the spot yesterday morning at the Marion Jones Sports Complex conference room, where he ably fielded questions from media personnel on aspects of the financial affairs of the FFB and its handling of district association elections, which have now been completed, and which determine the delegates that will cast their votes in the upcoming FFB executive elections, set for July 4. (Premier League of Belize elections are reportedly set for this Saturday, June 20.)
FFB finances and termination of Kent Gabourel
G.S. Jones was adamant that there was no “misappropriation of funds,” as had been bandied about on various social media. In fact, said Jones, it was a matter of clearing old debts to various entities, including Income Tax and Social Security, debts that had been left unresolved by previous FFB administrations. The only discrepancy he admitted, was the FFB’s utilizing of funds already allocated by FIFA for upcoming projects, to clear some of these outstanding old debts. These funds, the FFB had to replace for the proper FIFA project allocations, thus the need for belt-tightening, including temporary furlough of some idle staff during this Covid-19 suspension of football activity. He maintained that FFB’s accounts have been audited and approved by FIFA, who only dispatch new funds from the so-called FIFA-Forward program if it is satisfied with the financial accounting for previously allocated funds.
On the termination of long-time national team goalkeeper coach, Kent Gabourel Gray, G.S. Jones said it was simply a matter of not renewing a contract from the previous administration which had ended. Kent had been employed on contract with the FFB from the “bad old days” of the Bertie Chimilio administration, and his contract had been renewed under the previous Ruperto Vicente led FFB. He will receive all monies due him, said Jones.
Disenfranchised BDFA clubs
On the situation involving disgruntled 1st Division clubs that were disenfranchised in the Belize District Football Association (BDFA) elections this past Saturday, Jones admitted that the incumbent BDFA executive may have not been energetic enough in convincing those 1st Division club representatives to access the FIFA-Connect on-line program and even assisting them where needed; but he reiterated that it is the duty and obligation of the clubs to pursue and accomplish their registration status with the FFB, which they had over four months to secure since the last postponement of the Elective Congress in February of this year. Indeed, there is enough blame to go around in the BDFA, as the gripes go back a few years, where clubs may not have been properly educated on the importance of fulfilling the new FIFA obligations of registering as “clubs” to ensure voting rights at congresses, versus registering only as “teams” that are only allowed to play football in competitions. Ironically, it is the Mundialito teams which are affiliated to individuals on the winning slate, who were deemed officially registered as clubs and could vote; while the now disgruntled 1st Division teams could not participate in the BDFA Elective Congress. Hopefully, the newly elected executive will now make an earnest effort to mend fences and ensure that the active 1st Division teams are properly registered as clubs, and can thus be welcomed as full voting members of the BDFA Congress and football family.
Termination of Idemuei Moss
Also in attendance at yesterday’s meeting with the press was FFB Senior Vice President, Marlon Kuylen, and we took the opportunity to ask for clarification on the February 27 termination of then FFB Club Licensing Manager, Idemuei (Nolbert) Moss. On that same date when the previous attempt at the BDFA Elective Congress was made, Moss had penned a complaint against the action of G.S. Jones in legitimizing the list of BDFA clubs with voting rights, that did not include the 1st Division clubs, some of which he deemed more qualified to be considered clubs than some on the official list presented by the BDFA executive and approved by the FFB. In Moss’s observation, “Regrettably, there are many non-clubs that have been entered into district association statutes purely on basis of their perceived affiliation with those in authority locally and nationally…,” while many of the clubs “… have been denied inclusion on district association statutes on the basis of being viewed as non-supporters of the district executive and current leadership of FFB.”
Kuylen maintained that Moss’s termination, though unfortunate, was necessary due to his repeated breach of protocol, in challenging the G.S., whom he should be reporting directly to in the chain of command. Kuylen acknowledged that there was much confusion and irregularities in the past few years’ administration of the BDFA, but they, the FFB were bound by the existing statutes, and the only way to clear up the mess, was to complete the elective congress under the new FIFA approved statutes. As one with unquestioned loyalty to the players and the game of football, Moss’ sacrificial effort failed in trying to have the registration matter resolved with fairness before the elective congress. Now that the congress is completed, it will be up to the newly elected BDFA executive to regain the trust and confidence of the aggrieved 1st Division teams, and the best way to do that is to give all the assistance needed to have them effectively registered with the FFB as clubs with full membership status in the BDFA Congress.