Last night, we told you about the internal disputes which have been brewing inside the Football Federation of Belize for several months.
They haven't publicized because there is the fear that the local football community will become disheartened by it, since the platform of this new executive was that there would be a change in direction from the Bertie Chimilio regime.
As we told you back in September of last year, there was discord within the FFB management, in which 3 of the executives were threatened with suspension by President Vicente. We understand now that this was the result of these members criticizing Vicente's management. They made certain demands of him, that he should make changes to his management. We are told that those demands didn't come across very well to Vicente. Our information says that Vicente then made a move to get those members suspended, but his action wasn't supported by the FFB Congress, which is the highest decision maker in the sport. Caution letters were sent out saying that the members were engaging in "malicious and undermining" activities.
So, there's that dispute which the football community has taken note of, along with the embarrassment of the Belmopan Bandits being pulled out of the Champion's League due to the football field foul-up.
Now, we've also learned of another. We've been informed that the football clubs, with the exception of Belmopan Bandits, recently wrote to the President Vicente, making certain demands that he must fulfil, or they will not play semi-pro football.
That sets the background for Wednesday's Press Conference when President Vicente faced not only the press, but also interested members of the football community. 1 semi-pro team owner and another football member questioned his management style at that press conference. Here's how he responded to their complaints:
"It seem to be this every year this lateness and that we send out letters late - we've done this late. I assume that you have an executive here at FFB and also that there has to be a calendar of activities I assume and knowing that this event is coming up. Why couldn't the letters have been sent earlier to indicate to employers that we will need the employee time off?"
Ruperto Vicente - President, FFB
"I agree and I am saying to you that yes we erred in that and we should have send the letters out earlier, so we take responsibility for that."
"In terms of the overall concern about issues of lateness and structure and mechanisms and so on, can you maybe close off by explaining to us what is the federation and yourself as the president will be doing in the very near future to sort of to correct.... I notice in a letter to Webb you indicated how disappointed you were, you are concern about the fair play, but for a lot of us who are perhaps intimately involved in football here in Belize we don't necessarily think that there is sufficient openness communication fair play, if I may use that loosely, with the way football is being managed in Belize. A few weeks ago you alluded to me about the need for a lot more openness and accountability and that type of thing. Maybe you could talk to us a little bit more about what yourself as president along with your executive who we haven't seen or heard from in a long time, what's going to happen here?"
Ruperto Vicente - President, FFB
"One of the things that we are working on as one I think we have informed you so you have the information that we are in the process of restructuring the federation as well as the lead. What's going to happen here right now, FIFA is in the process of evaluating everything that we are doing; the way we deal with our finance. In fact FIFA has contracted a local company to assist this federation in dealing with its finances. Secondly, FIFA is coming in in October and FIFA is going to hold a workshop with all stakeholders especially the owners of the teams in the league and FIFA is going to restructure the league and FIFA is going to manage the league for the next two years."
We understand that the semi-pro teams are very concerned about the status of the vacant executive seat that FFB's Rawel Pelayo still holds. He was nabbed last year by US Authorities for narcotics smuggling when he travelled there as part of the official FFB team representing Belize at its first ever Gold Cup appearance.
FFB President Vicente has already told the press that the Congress has given Pelayo 6 more months to return to fill his seat. That grace period expires sometime next month.