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Dec 4, 2017

Third Time Lucky – Sergio Chuc Elected F.F.B. President

With fourteen votes of a possible twenty, Sergio Chuc is elected, along with running mate Cruz Gamez, to the presidency and vice presidency of the Football Federation of Belize respectively. The eleventh ordinary congress of the Federation, held Saturday at the Princess Hotel, was hoped to bring to an end months of deadlock and division. Chuc officially succeeds former Ruperto Vicente, also a candidate in the election, whom he tried to oust as deputy last year. Meanwhile Onan McLean and Daniel Fabro positioned themselves as a new direction for the Federation, but were largely ignored. McLean received four votes; Vicente, two; and Fabro, none. The winner, with ties to the ruling party, promises a new era for the beautiful game in the Jewel. News Five’s Aaron Humes takes us inside the electoral process.

 

Aaron Humes, Reporting

With so much at stake – millions of dollars from international organizations FIFA and CONCACAF and the power associated with being the boss of football bosses – the four candidates for the presidency of the Football Federation of Belize barely had time to make nice with the media in attendance at the Princess Hotel. Much of their time was spent plotting strategy, making the alliances they hoped would get them to the top. But for Daniel Fabro, the former team owner positioned as the outsider and reformer, it was over almost as soon as it began. He got no support from the electorate of twenty leaders of the various associations, whom he accused of hypocrisy.

 

Daniel Fabro

Daniel Fabro, Presidential Candidate

“I believe our ideas were the best; I think the Belizean public thought overwhelmingly that our ideas were the best. But it’s the twenty delegates who decide; they are the ones, I believe, who are responsible for holding back the football development in Belize, and the Belizean public must hold them accountable. For me, I was prepared for this: I am at peace with what happened. Coming here today, I more or less expected something like this to happen. I was a bit disappointed in that we did not get even one vote, but at the end of the day, it’s the decision of the twenty delegates and they are the ones who have to answer to their public and from here we move forward.”

 

And while for Fabro it was the agony of defeat, an ignominious one at that, for Chuc it was, at last, the thrill of victory. He was first denied in May of 2016 when there was deadlock after twenty rounds. A second try saw him briefly disqualified, but today he was not to be denied. He said he passed up media rounds in favour of working the delegates, and that strategy paid off. Now it is on to the much harder task of healing long-standing wounds.

 

Sergio Chuc

Sergio Chuc, President, Football Federation of Belize

“The plan was clear, so I didn’t mean any disrespect when I wasn’t on all the television shows that they invited me and all the radio talk shows; I didn’t mean any disrespect to anybody. I knew from the very onset that there were only twenty delegates, twenty votes, and that was my focus. Now [that] I have overcome that hurdle – handsomely, by the way – now I will do the media rounds and unite the football family, unite everybody in Belize behind football. We have a lot of raw talent in Belize, and with the support of my executive, whom have all pledged their support, I think Belize has places to go, in the very near future.”

 

Chuc and Gamez are joined by executive members Darlene Vernon, Ray Davis, and goalkeeper Shane Moody-Orio as well as interim general secretary Earl Jones and communications director Anthony Mahler, with a plan already laid down in place. That plan, says Chuc, involves taking advantage of the established funding to craft proposals for football development programs.

 

Sergio Chuc

“My main focus right now is that there is enough funding, especially FIFA funding out there, for development programs in Belize, that I don’t think we have been taking advantage of these monies out there. So I really want to get somebody immediately on board to start writing to access these funds. I understand that some projects are already in the pipeline, but I believe that having somebody full time from the Federation or a contract worker from outside, focusing on bringing in the funds, then we will focus on the football part of it.”

 

Despite the misgivings about the current state of football expressed in a nine-page statement issued shortly before leaving office, former acting President Marlon Kuylen also gave Chuc his stamp of approval to carry on.

 

Marlon Kuylen

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

“Although it was a very tough nineteen months, we were committed to do as much as we could, and with the assistance of my able colleagues, my executive at the time, we have developed a framework. It’s a short-term plan, but it’s a plan. The funding is there for it, we have someone already – I must tell Mr. Chuc – we have somebody already that’s going to be full-time that’s going to start accessing these funds and writing up these programs. And I am committed to working along with whoever became president to make these plans come through.”

 

Aaron Humes reporting for News Five.

 

According to Kuylen, FIFA representatives are coming to Belize in the start of the New Year to work with them on increasing assistance for football development and re-writing the unwieldy statutes of the organization, as well as a code of ethics modeled after FIFA’s revised edition and subsequently to elect its Ethics Committee.

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