BELIZE CITY, Mon. Oct. 18, 2021– Once again, it appears there is strife in the football family in Belize. (See Bandits press release elsewhere in this issue.) What else is new? From Chimilio to Vicente to Chuc, it seems the rule rather than the exception in Belize football politics that the head wearing the crown, for whatever reason, runs afoul of enough members/clubs in the federation/association to draw attention away from the joy of the game of football, and instead shine the spotlight on the jockeying for positions of power and control in the administration of the sport.
There was a brief period of harmony and unity in the football family under the FIFA appointed temporary presidency of Marlon Kuylen back around 2016-17, which had been occasioned by a contentious FFB executive election deadlock between then incumbent president Ruperto Vicente and challenger Sergio Chuc that was stained by rumors of financial impropriety in the process.
From the amateur days and into the professional era, there have always been contentious battles for positions of membership in the various district branch executives; and no more heated have the jostling been than in elections for executive positions in the Football Federation of Belize (FFB), which body is the authorized representative of FIFA in Belize, and gets to oversee the disbursement and management of millions of FIFA dollars contributed annually to each national federation for football development and associated projects. FIFA funds have accomplished a lot for football in Belize, and the evidence can be seen at the football facility at the FFB headquarters in Belmopan, as well as the various training initiatives conducted countrywide on a regular basis for coaches, youths – male and female, and referees.
Covid-19 halted football competitions in Belize from March of 2020, but even while preparations are being made for the long awaited green light from the Ministry of Health for the resumption of football activity, there have been battles being fought off the field. A crisis arose last year in the executive elections of the Premier League of Belize (PLB), where a new slate of candidates led by Toledo’s Clifford King was challenging the incumbents led by PLB president, Cayo’s Ian Haylock. According to our reports, King’s slate claimed to have won the election, but the results were challenged by Haylock, who was backed up by FFB president, Sergio Chuc. And the matter has gone all the way to the Supreme Court of Belize.
While the leadership matter rests in court, the PLB cannot go forward with plans for re-starting its football competition, whose champion normally gets to represent Belize in the Concacaf League tournament.
The FFB, which has not recognized the legitimacy of the last PLB executive elections where King was elected president, has apparently decided to completely sidestep the quarrel and institute a new competition comprising clubs that are in support of the incumbent Ian Haylock presidency. But this would not be the PLB, the long established and recognized body representing top level football in the country. To maintain the support of the Haylock group, FFB president Chuc is apparently willing to alienate a number of erstwhile foundation PLB clubs who are unwilling to participate in this proposed new “Top League.”
FFB president Sergio Chuc is on the hot seat because, while he might succeed in branding a few southern clubs as troublemakers, any proposed top level tournament without the participation of the much decorated Bandits would lack legitimacy in the eyes of the football public.