BELMOPAN, Wed. June 3, 2015–The resignation of former longstanding International Federation of Football Association (FIFA)president, Sepp Blatter, which occurred yesterday, Tuesday, sent social media, not to mention the football world, into a frenzy. Although many influential stakeholders within that realm have been calling for Blatter’s resignationeven before the elections were held at the 65th FIFA Congress last Friday, May 29, in Zurich,
Switzerland, Blatter won a fifth consecutive term amid massive corruption scandals which have surfaced within the international football governing body.
During those elections, Football Federation of Belize (FFB) president, Ruperto Vicente – who had attended the event with two other FFB executives – voted for Blatter despite the revelations. While heading back out of the country on another footballrelated matter on Monday of this week, Vicente, in an interview with the media, asserted that he had voted for the embattled FIFA president because “he [Blatter] was up for development, and Belize needs as much assistance in development as possible, and so, we also put the challenge that it is now his responsibility to clean up the situation in FIFA.”
The very next day, however, Blatter called it quits as federal investigators from the US vowed to unearth what has been termed as a catalog of corrupt practices which were employed by FIFA officials over the past 24 years, including facilitating certain nations to win the bid to host both past and future World Cup competitions.
Upon Vicente’s return to the country today, the media again caught up with him at the airport and questioned him about the emergent situation and its effect on the future of football in Belize. He said, “Reflecting on what President Blatter said when he won the elections is that he was going to take responsibility for what goes on in FIFA, since most people, or most countries, wanted him to take the responsibility.
“He [Blatter] declared that he was going to take the responsibility. He also declared that we need to take back FIFA, [that] we need to rescue FIFA and so, I voted on the fact~ as I said before, he was into development and as a developing nation, we also need support in development.” “I also said that I voted for Blatter because the burden was on him to clean up FIFA, but when I said clean up, I didn’t know that the clean up would have started with him. I believe, looking at what is going on, that he had done the honorable thing of resigning and allowing someone else to move on with the organization. Football is the most powerful sport in the world and the most popular, so FIFA needs to move on with the sport”, Vicente stressed.
The FFB president went on to mention that what has happened “will not affect football development in any country”, and that “we will continue to get FIFA’s support in football development.” When prodded about his reaction to those who might be displeased with him for voting in favor of Blatter, he responded by saying, “in any election there are going to be those who support and those who oppose and so that is given, that’s a part of life and so I have to respect that. There are going to be people who are pleased that President Blatter is gone and there are going to be those who are sad that he left, but I believe that in all of this decision that he has made, it is going to be good for FIFA as an organization.”
We understand that the other two executives that went to the Congress – including FFB secretary general, Michael Blease, and senior vice president, Sergio Chuc, were in support of the Prince of Jordan, Ali Bin Hussein, who was Blatter’s opponent.
When Amandala spoke with Vicente today, he told us that his vote for Blatter was based on a consensus, prior to the elections, that was made between the nations that fall under CONCACAF, which is the football body that governs North and Central America.
Last Thursday, May 28, 14 high level officials of FIFA were arrested by Swiss police at the 65th Congress in Zurich, Switzerland after being indicted by US officials for racketeering, wire fraud, money laundering and even bribery.
Blatter’s departure will not come into effect until a successor is named to lead the embattled organization at a FIFA Extraordinary Congress, in possibly four months’ time.