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Aug 13, 2014

Belize Disqualified from International Football…

CONCACAF dropped a bombshell on Tuesday when it officially wrote to the Football Federation of Belize that the Belmopan Bandits will not be allowed to play in the 2014-2015 Champions League. The notice to the F.F.B. was at four o’clock and immediately after, the CONCACAF website posted that Costa Club Sport Herediano earns a wildcard replacement bid to group seven where the Bandits were placed. The CONCACAF decision is based on the state; the unplayable state that is, of the F.F.B. field in Belmopan. President of the F.F.B., Ruperto Vicente, says he is fighting back, but is it too late?  Duane Moody reports on this major setback to Belizean football.

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

Belmopan Bandits Football Club has been removed from the roster and will not be allowed to compete in the 2014-2015 CONCACAF Champions League. That’s the decision taken by the Central American body on Tuesday, following a report from inspectors that the F.F.B. Field inBelmopanis not fit for play for the tournament scheduled for later this month.

 

Ruperto Vicente, President, F.F.B.

Ruperto Vicente

“Well CONCACAF came on the tenth of August and did inspection and certainly they were not happy with what they saw because there were a lot of brown spots on the pitch…too many brown spots and the brown spots is not good for television because the champions league is all about television and they want the grass to be green. We are not there yet, but we could have gotten the pitch ready for the twenty-first of August. With expertise, we brought in Mister Chanona who assured the inspector that by cutting out the brown spots and fill it with green grass; the pitch would be ready within one week. And this pitch could have been ready by Saturday of this week.  The inspector left assuring us that he will take the information to CONCACAF office and that they will give us a feedback on the decision. Now on Tuesday…let me go back, on Monday night at midnight, CONCACAF called me and told me that they were meeting and that things were not looking good for Belize. And on Tuesday at four p.m., that was yesterday, CONCACAF sent us the official decision that the Bandits Football Team is being withdrawn from the Champions League because we do not have an adequate football field to play on.”

 

The Football Federation of Belize is not giving up without a fight. President Ruperto Vicente has sought the support of presidents from the Central American Football Federations, as well as UNCAF and the Government of Belize to intervene in the decision which is seen as (quote) “a great injustice to our Belizean football.” (Unquote)  Vicente pleaded his case in a the letter of protest to President of CONCACAF, Jeffery Webb.  He spoke of the effect the decision has on football inBelize, asking CONCACAF administrators to revisit the decision.

Ruperto Vicente

“I have since then met with the management of Bandits Football Club, I have called the president of CONCACAF and expressed my disappointment and request that CONCACAF revisits its decision. I have also spoken to the president of UNCAF, who is not happy with the decision made by CONCACAF. And all the presidents of the Central Americans Football Federations; they are certainly disappointed with the decision that has been taken this late to have the Belmopan Bandits Football Team removed from Champions League.”

 

In November of last year, several contracts, amounting to one point nine million dollars, were signed with FIFA to prepare the facilities for the Champion Leagues. It included upgrades of the F.F.B. headquarters and dormitory; the renovation of the bleachers at forty thousand U.S. dollars, the installation of locker rooms and referee rooms at ninety-eight thousand U.S. dollars and the retrofitting of the stadium lights at three hundred thousand dollars, among other things, including aVIProom. On March fifth 2014, monies were disbursed, including a one hundred and fifty-two thousand U.S. dollars contract for the pitch. A tour of the facility today showed that all projects had been completed except the pitch. And today, F.F.B. basically put the blame on the Belizean contractor hired by FIFA to bring the field up to standard.

 

Ruperto Vicente

“On the eighth of May, I assured the officials of CONCACAF at a meeting in Mexico City that our facilities would be ready by the end of May and I did that because the contractors all agreed and assured me that our entire facility would be ready by the end of May. And certainly I must say to you that CONCACAF would normally inspect stadiums at the end of May for Champions League so this happens every year right before the Champions League starts.  But CONCACAF had been good to us and so they extended the date of inspection and agreed to come in on the nineteenth of June to do inspection and sure enough the inspectors came and looked at the facility and realized that they needed more time. And word from the contractor doing the pitch, CONCACAF gave us up to the second of July to complete the pitch and would come back to do the inspection. The contractor started on time, there were some delays with the monies coming from FIFA to the contractor because the money doesn’t come to the federation—and that needs to be understood—because people have the perception that the monies are given to the federation and then to the contractor. No, the monies go directly from FIFA to the contractor’s account. There was a four weeks delay, but even with that, to continue the work, we worked with the contractor. Myself along with the Honorable John Saldivar spoke to the bank and the bank gave him an overdraft facility to continue the work, so the work could have been completed. So in this case, I think it would be a matter of procrastination that caused us not to be in Champions League and for our field not to be prepared.”

 

But what about the investment made by the management of Belmopan Bandits in its athletes to prepare for the games?

 

Ruperto Vicente

“I have advised Belmopan Bandits management, I have advised Honorable John Saldivar to document everything, put it in writing and we are going to send it to CONCACAF, UNCAF and FIFA.”

 

Vicente has threatened that Belize will not participate in any other international outings if they are not allowed to compete in the Champions League. Duane Moody for News Five.

 

Even though the F.F.B. is seeking the intervention of Central American federations, UNCAF and G.O.B., it is not known whether in fact CONCACAF will reverse its decision.

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11 Responses for “Belize Disqualified from International Football…”

  1. Peter Monteroso says:

    EXCELLENT!!! TEACHES THEM A LESSON NOT TO POCKET THE MONEY AND NEGLECT THE FOOTBALL FIELD.

  2. Ixchel Pop says:

    What you expect if u tek the people money and noh deliver….that is call thieving…for belize that may be perfectly ok but not to people where accountability is paramount.

  3. Teddy Steinway says:

    Promises are like babies: easy to make, hard to deliver

  4. Belizean Pride says:

    2014 and we can’t have a CONCACAF stadium average level, mein it’s a pity and the hard things is who can the fans point fingers cause at the end nobody is the culprit all are the wanna be victims involve in the failure. Can we keep hoping for a better future or just throw the towel and let destiny take over until some thing happens.

  5. sly deceiver says:

    Dah wah bloody disgrace that this government doesnt see this as something important that should have been fixed for the youths then they wonder why so much murders dih happen.

  6. citizen says:

    Indeed, it’s a pitty that this team cannot play a tournament due to this situation. I have an advise for the football authorities/government in Belize: let’s move our priorities from SEMI-PRO to MINOR LEAGUES for five to ten years… device a cyclical project that will develop football aptitudes and attitudes in young kids. This project should be based on institutionalized minor league tournaments by district and region. Once these leagues have been consolidated you just begin the project over, which will make it a cyclical project. I wish I was given the oportunity to create this project here in my couontry Belize…

  7. citizen says:

    … and in ten years you will see the results… we will be able to compete against, not only regional adversaries, but also world class teams. Give a try Belize!!!

  8. dats just gud says:

    Face the truth, the team would have lost any way and Belize embarrassed again. So money was saved from NOT participating. Get it right, start from the beginning, get the equipment’s, get the appropriate certified field, get a recognized coach, get the players, groom the players, secure lodging and funding for the players, win some local games/practice matches, then get the bigger sponsorship to attend.

    Then win, loose or draw it was done the right way and stop playing the blame games and waste Belizean people time…..

  9. Poor Belize. says:

    This is the product when you have incompitent people running things. This dude is do clueless ,just listen to his interview. All that money from FIFA and this is what they have to show.This field is not even fit for a “Village Match” much less and Iternational tournament.I played football in Belize many years ago ,and it;s sad there is so little progress in the development of the sport.

  10. charlie says:

    Bring back Chimilio

  11. Dave says:

    Belize disqualified From International Football? What a misleading headline!

    First of all, Belize has not been disqualified from anything. The headline gives the false impression that our national team has been disqualified from an International tournament. Not even close. But as usual we are always willing to exaggerate our failures and play the blame game. Yes, it is a shame that Belize does not yet have a proper field and we should all be embarrassed. Marvin Ottley’s failure is not his alone. But this is how we operate in Belize and until we start accepting each other’s shame as our own we will not make any progress. We will never get it together until we start acting together and until we start sharing each other’s burdens and triumphs all the same. We’re calling for the youths to put down the guns but I would also like to ask our leaders to put down their egos. They’re killing us all the same!

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