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#504698 - 05/29/15 06:14 PM FFB mum on FIFA scandal
Marty Offline
Three executive members of the Football Federation of Belize (FFB)—Ruperto Vicente, president; Michael Blease, secretary general; and Sergio Chuc, senior vice president—are presently in Zurich, Switzerland, for the 65th FIFA Congress where International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) president, Sepp Blatter, 79, will once again seek re-election as the head of the governing body in football.

FIFA, the international football body to which the FFB belongs, proverbially, had the wind taken out of its sails early yesterday morning when US prosecutors indicted 14 FIFA officials on charges of racketeering, bribery, wire fraud and money laundering – 7 of whom were hauled out of their luxury hotel rooms and arrested by Swiss authorities.

Following their detention, the US Department of Justice issued a lengthy statement which accused FIFA executives of enriching themselves for the past 24 years through the corruption of international soccer by accepting bribes and kickbacks estimated at more than US$150M, beginning in 1991.

When the local media sought a comment from Vicente, after the news broke yesterday, he explained that he was not in a position to speak about the matter at the time because he was not aware of the circumstances behind the arrests.

Amandala got a similar response from former FFB president (1998-2012), Bertie Chimilio, who told us that he had heard about the situation but was not been paying it any mind.

We also tried to speak with Delhart Courtney, who had served as general secretary of the Belize National Football Association (BNFA), which became FFB in 2001, but he was not available at the time.

We did manage to speak with David Cruz, the a founding member of the BNFA who served as president for 2 years, and he asserted that he believes that Blatter should resign because “he has served his time and now it is time to go and let someone else come and clean up the mess.”

Cruz mentioned that Blatter should not even be eligible for the election tomorrow, Friday, because he should be held responsible for the corruption that has now marred the reputation of the organization.

“Most of them [FIFA officials], including our FFB president, will vote for him because of the financial rewards that he will offer them”, he charged.

Blatter, who is favored to win a fifth term, is not among the officials who were taken into custody during the raid, and yesterday he issued a statement vowing to kick out corrupt officials from FIFA.

He added that he welcomed the investigations by the US and Swiss authorities.

That was issued after a press briefing in which Acting US Attorney for New York’s Eastern District, Kelly Currie, warned that this was the “beginning, not the end, of the investigation”.

One of the seven arrested in Zurich is Jeffrey Webb, current FIFA vice president and head of the CONCACAF federation that serves North and Central America.

The others arrested were Eduardo Li, Julio Rocha, Costas Takkas, Eugenio Figueredo – also a vice-president, Rafael Esquivel and Jose Maria Marin.

Six of the seven are reportedly contesting extradition to the US.

The seven are among the 11 banned from football-related activity by FIFA. The other four are Jack Warner, Nicolas Leoz, Chuck Blazer and Daryll Warner, Jack Warner’s son.

According to BBC News, four individuals, including Blazer – the former top American official at FIFA – and Daryll Warner pleaded guilty to the charges yesterday.

Jack Warner, a former FIFA vice president from Trinidad, is accused of soliciting US$10M in bribes from South Africa’s government over the hosting of the 2010 World Cup.

Warner turned himself in to authorities in Trinidad after a warrant was issued for his arrest, and was granted bail of TT$2.5 million (US$394,601 million) but spent last night in a remand prison due to a delay in the approval of his bail documents.

He later issued a statement saying he was innocent of any charges.

If convicted on racketeering charges, the defendants could face up to 20 years in prison.

We also tried to solicit comments from former BNFA president, Nicholas Pollard, Jr., and former BNFA executives, Trenton Miller and David Jones, but our attempts were unsuccessful.

Amandala

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#504803 - 06/02/15 10:27 AM Re: FFB mum on FIFA scandal [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Belize For Blatter; But Why?

Last week in Zuriuch Switzerland, the biggest sporting organization on the planet was shaken to its core when 14 high level officials of FIFA were arrested by Swiss Police at the 65th Congress in Zurich, Switzerland.

The men are detained under indictment for racketeering,wire fraud, and money laundering - which investigators say, all sprang from corrupt practices which were employed to get different nations to win the bid to host the World Cup.

Executive members of the Football Federation of Belize were in Zurich for the meetings. So did we support Sepp Blatter? President Ruperto Vicente only just returned yesterday evening told us he did. He was heading back out of the country this morning on another football related matter, and we managed to catch up with him to ask him what influenced the vote, and what he thought when he saw the Swiss Police officers pouring into the hotel:

Daniel Ortiz
"Were you at all concerned for your safety seeing the Swiss police arresting persons? Did that cross your mind when you saw them coming up?"

Ruperto Vicente - President, FFB
"Not at all because, there's no reason to. You know what is involved there. You know in no way I would ever be involved in it nor would the Football Federation of Belize will ever be involve in those situations."

Daniel Ortiz
"But sir 4 of the names up for indictment come from CONCACAF. That's our regional organization. Wouldn't it be such a far stretch to say that Belize's football is somewhat tainted because of that situation, that maybe knowing or unknowingly we've participated in corrupt activities within FIFA?"

Ruperto Vicente - President, FFB
"Yes those individuals are from CONCACAF and I've said before there's nothing wrong with CONCACAF. CONCACAF is better off today that it was 3 years ago. It means that CONCACAF has come a long way. What is wrong with CONCACAF is individuals that have their own interest. Yes, Belize football may have been tainted and certainly we are not immune from that situation because we can also be investigated. Because we had signed contracts with Traffic Sports and Traffic Sports is one of the organization that is in the middle of the whole situation and so our contracts were signed up to 2018 and so we may also be called to questions. When that time comes we will have to respond accordingly. Remember that those contracts were signed by previous administration. We have not signed any contract with Traffic Sports. The election in itself even came out very good. Looking at the situation that was at hand, we thought that there would have been a lot of difficulties with that election but it came out positive."

Daniel Ortiz
"Did Belize vote for Joseph Sepp Blatter or which candidate did we vote for?"

Ruperto Vicente - President, FFB
"Well I voted for Joseph Blatter. Reason being is that he 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."

Daniel Ortiz
"It has widely been speculated that persons just under Mister Blatter have been indicted. Why exactly is he not under question, not being asked to answer certain questions when there is this great perception that whether it is unfair or not that he may be involved in that world wide corruption practices?"

Ruperto Vicente - President, FFB
"Remember that it is CONCACAF officials that are under criminal investigation at this point. The Swiss authorities have just started their probing into activities in FIFA. So I cannot comment on those activities because I do not have the facts on those. FIFA is a good organization as well as CONCACAF. There's nothing wrong with those organizations. You know, what is wrong are individuals who have their own agendas, their own interest and creating the difficulties for the organization."

Channel 7


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#504825 - 06/02/15 05:04 PM Re: FFB mum on FIFA scandal [Re: Marty]
SimonB Offline
Blatter resigned this morning...

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#504840 - 06/03/15 11:14 AM Re: FFB mum on FIFA scandal [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Belize Backed Blatter Right Up To The End

Last night, we showed you our interview with the President of the Football Federation of Belize, Ruperto Vicente, about his experience in Zurich, Switzerland last week when the Swiss authorities descended on the FIFA congress and arrested 14 senior officials in connection with the biggest corruption scandal in FIFA's history.

He also confirmed yesterday that FFB voted for incumbent president, Joseph Sepp Blatter - who was returned for a fifth term as president. That's the man who has presided over a period that American law enforcement alleges that the organization was involved in racketeering, wire fraud, and money laundering to rig the voting process for different countries to win the bids to host the World Cup.

Well today, Sepp Blatter shocked the football world when he announced that he would resign from the post he was only just elected to, in the wake of the corruption scandal which rages on all over the football world. This morning, he announced it at a press conference in Switzerland; here's a short excerpt:

So, now all the member countries to plan an extraordinary congress to elect Blatter's replacement - who will probably not be named until the end of this year. How will that change in leadership affect football in Belize? That's yet to be seen, but yesterday, the FFB president revealed why he voted for Blatter last week on behalf of Belize. For context, we revisit an excerpt of that interview:

Daniel Ortiz
"Did Belize vote for Joseph Sepp Blatter or which candidate did we vote for?"

Ruperto Vicente - President, FFB
"Well I voted for Joseph Blatter. Reason being is that he 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."

Daniel Ortiz
"It has widely been speculated that persons just under Mister Blatter have been indicted. Why exactly is he not under question, not being asked to answer certain questions when there is this great perception that whether it is unfair or not that he may be involved in that world wide corruption practices?"

Ruperto Vicente - President, FFB
"Remember that it is CONCACAF officials that are under criminal investigation at this point. The Swiss authorities have just started their probing into activities in FIFA. So I cannot comment on those activities because I do not have the facts on those. FIFA is a good organization as well as CONCACAF. There's nothing wrong with those organizations. You know, what is wrong are individuals who have their own agendas, their own interest and creating the difficulties for the organization."

Blatter was first elected in 1998, and he has served as the highest official in the football world for 17 years. There has been no word yet on when this extraordinary congress will be held to elect Blatter's replacement.

Channel 7


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