Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Austin decides to co-operate with FIFA ethics committee

Suspended CONCACAF acting president Lisle Austin has decided to co-operate with investigations conducted by the FIFA ethics committee, arising out of charges of bribery against one-time presidential candidate Mohamed bin Hammam at a meeting with the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) in Port of Spain last month.

This was announced in a CFU release yesterday.

It read: "In light of the attempts to address the challenges facing the Caribbean Football Union, as well as bring closure to the Ethics Committee proceedings, members of the Caribbean Football Union will fully co-operate with any investigation being conducted on behalf of the FIFA Ethics Committee.

"We have received notice that the requested interviews will now be conducted in the Bahamas as opposed to the United States of America.

"This event has dragged on for too long, many have suffered and many will continue to suffer. And so the union is unified in its position that in the interest of this game, we have agreed to attend the interviews at dates convenient to our respective members."

Also yesterday, Dominica Football Association president Patrick John denied any involvement in the cash-for-vote scandal that has rocked the global football fraternity.

John joins several other CFU federations who have already distanced themselves from the charges that have split CONCACAF, the continental governing body for North, Central America and the Caribbean.

It has been alleged Caribbean Football Union member associations received US$40,000 bribes in exchange for supporting challenger bin Hammam, leading up to the FIFA presidential elections against incumbent Sepp Blatter

The charges have since led to the suspension of bin Hammam and CFU and CONCACAF president Jack Warner, who is also a FIFA vice-president.

John, who attended the meeting in Trinidad last month when the bribes were allegedly handed out, said no offer of money was made to his association.

"Dominica was never approached about the gift being given because Dominica opposed bin Hammam's candidacy at the meeting when he made his presentation," he said.

"He was told that Dominica will not support him and will, instead, support Blatter. We were very tough on him. Other …members asked some soft questions about when they will or will not get the money, that is, the money for the Goal Project and an increase in the Financial Assistance Project, and then the story broke out."

Other CFU members, including Jamaica and Barbados, have already denied receiving money in exchange for their votes.

John, a former Dominica prime minister, said he could not speak on behalf of other CFU countries, but reiterated the DFA were unaware of bribe money.

"I did not expect Dominica to be approached by anybody knowing our position," he pointed out.

"I am a supporter of Blatter. Dominica was excluded from that (bribery). I am not sure if the other associations received money to vote." —CMC