CONCACAF hit by new scandal as president is appointed
24 May 2012
Jeffrey Webb’s election as the new president of the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) was overshadowed on Wednesday as a host of allegations of financial mismanagement against his predecessor Jack Warner and former general secretary Chuck Blazer were spelt out to the body’s 40 member nations.
The new revelations saw officials call for Blazer’s removal from FIFA’s Executive Committee, with the issue now set to be on the agenda at the Congress of world football’s governing body on Friday. “There are robbers with guns and there are robbers with white collars – and I don’t want us to be represented by a thief with a white collar in FIFA,” said Football Association of Cuba president Luis Hernandez, according to the Associated Press. The allegations stem from an audit of CONCACAF’s finances conducted shortly after the American stepped down from his post in December. Mexican Football Association president, Justino Compean, said Blazer was “manipulating information”, adding he was responsible for “obscene irregularities.”
CONCACAF had hoped that Webb’s appointment would end a period of turmoil for the organisation. Warner quit the presidency last year in the midst of allegations of involvement in the FIFA presidential election scandal. Warner’s departure was followed by that of Blazer, after his bribery accusations against Warner and Asian Football Confederation (AFC) president Mohamed bin Hammam triggered FIFA’s anti-corruption crusade. Reflecting on the latest news, Webb said CONCACAF feels “let down, disappointed, dismayed.”
CONCACAF’s legal counsel, John Collins, said the organisation has reported itself to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service because it has failed to report tax returns since at least 2007. The Confederation is based in the Bahamas, but has offices in New York and Collins said: “It is difficult to predict what CONCACAF’s exposure will be.” AP added that the revelation of Warner’s legal ownership of a US$22.5 million CONCACAF centre of excellence in his native Trinidad and Tobago stunned officials. Under his leadership, Webb promised to concentrate on the game and pledged to shift the region’s focus away from “politics and economics.” Regarding the latest indiscretions, he added: “We have a responsibility to make sure the past…will never be repeated.”