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Jun 26, 2017

Football Federation Divided: Mass Boycott Stymies Congress

The Football Federation of Belize remains deeply divided tonight. Its tenth congress scheduled for the weekend, did not proceed even though executives from CONCACAF were in Belize to provide oversight of the event. Four district associations and the Premier League did not turn up, as they had threatened, which meant there was no quorum to proceed at least with the big ticket item which was the election of the President and the first Vice President. The boycott was instigated by Sergio Chuc who was barred from participating in the elections for president. So what’s next? News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.

 

 

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

Football in Belize, whether on the playing field or inside the boardroom, leaves a lot to be desired.  Not only is there a possibility for improvement, but the opportunity to advance the sport, from a national perspective, is perhaps being squandered by the powers that be. Control of the country’s sole management body has always been a contentious affair.  In fact, it is recorded by CONCACAF and FIFA, football’s regional and universal governing bodies, respectively, that last year’s congress to elect a new president of the Football Federation of Belize was the absolute lengthiest.  That failed process ultimately resulted in a stalemate.  This recent attempt at voting into office a new leader was considerably short, only because the congress itself had been forestalled.

 

Marco Leal

Marco Leal, Director of Member Associations, CONCACAF

“There was no quorum.  According to the statutes, you need half of the members, majority, sorry, half, plus one of the members, fifty percent, plus one of the members to be present, for the congress to take place.  Hence there was no quorum and the congress cannot go through.”

 

That was on Saturday, after a few hours of anticipating a decision on the hindered activity.  The feeling of anxiety inside the spacious Queen’s Room at the Princess Hotel was indeed palpable, as factions within the splintered organization began trickling out of the closed-door session.

 

Marco Leal

“It’s not the optimal thing, given the situation.  The political tension that Belize is going through, I would like to stress, like I told the congress, for the past three elections we’ve encountered tensions here in Belize.  It’s always the same situation.  We want to look to the future of Belize, towards the development of football in the country and sometimes these politics gets in the way and hinder the normal operation of the federation.”

 

Progress, however, means having to resolve certain differences that have polarized the federation.  The F.F.B. remains a house divided.

 

Marlon Kuylen

Marlon Kuylen, Acting President, F.F.B.

“For our FIFA and CONCACAF representatives to take the time out to come to Belize and us not being able to complete our mandate and comply with our statutes of having our congress, to me it’s very embarrassing.  It’s unfortunate.  We’ve tried so hard despite the many challenges we’ve had this past year.  We made some strides, some forward strides, but the politics brings out the ugly side of football and it’s very, very unfortunate.”

 

And the ugly side, as Acting F.F.B. President Marlon Kuylen puts it, is preventing Belize from moving forward with the development of young athletes.  That power struggle, ironically, often comes at the expense of the up and coming talents.  Failure to make quorum in the first instance means that the executives would have to reconvene no later than the following day.

 

Marco Leal

“According to the statutes, it is clearly stated that if there’s no quorum the congress should reconvene in twenty-four hours.  Because we have elections in the agenda, elections can only take place if the quorum, fifty percent, plus one of the members are here and are present.  So we will encounter the same scenario and we will have to determine if there is a quorum.  If there is no quorum there will be no congress and we will see what the way forward is in that case.”

 

Sure enough, Sunday would also see the absence, or in this case a boycott of the scheduled resumption, by several members of the executive.

 

Marlon Kuylen

“Only three of the eight affiliates showed up today and so agenda item elections could not take place, however, other items on the agenda, including approval of the budget, approval of the activity report, approval of the financials could have taken place.  The members decided that they did not want to have any congress at all, but then we took a five-minute break for them to reconsider.  After that break they came back and they decided that they would, we would go ahead with two items on the agenda, namely the financial reports and the activity reports.  But all of a sudden, I don’t know, for whatsoever reason, halfway through the first item which is the activity report, they decided that, you know what, we don’t want to proceed.  And so unfortunately, we had to adjourn what was left of the supposed to be the congress.”

 

The general outlook is grim, that’s for certain.  According to CONCACAF representative Marco Leal, who flew in to observe the proceedings, the silver lining on this perpetually dark cloud is that there is a pending revision of the statutes.

 

Marco Leal

“We will thrive that this is the last time this situation happens.  As we explained last visit, a year ago, a statutes revision process will take place, a deep statute revision process which implement new procedures implemented by FIFA and CONCACAF that will try to avoid situations like the ones we have.  We will look at the structures of Belize football, the distribution of members, the inclusion of stakeholders to make sure that Belize football is properly and duly represented in the executive committee, within the structures of the congress.”

 

Until then, Acting F.F.B. President Marlon Kuylen remains at the helm of the organization. Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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