Attorney says Minister of Sports, John Saldivar, acting outside his powers
A high powered FIFA delegation is heading to Belize next week in light of the bad blood between the National Sports Council and the Football Federation of Belize. The NCS has decertified the F.F.B. and declared that it can’t represent Belize, but a national selection is in Honduras to play game two of a World Cup 2014 pre-qualifier against Montserrat on Sunday. The F.F.B. went back to court today to reapply for an injunction, seeking the Supreme Court’s intervention in prohibiting the NSC from banning the F.F.B. from using its facilities. In fact, the F.F.B. says that since the suspension by the Sports Council it has not been able to play football in any part of the country. According to Senior Counsel Elson Kaseke, Minister of Sports John Saldivar acted outside of his powers when he instituted a ban against F.F.B. from participating or representing Belize internationally. In court today he argued that F.F.B. is being singled out and discriminated against because of personal and political reasons and, that, unlike other unregistered sporting associations, it is being illegally sanctioned from use of the Sports Council’s resources.
Elson Kaseke, Attorney for F.F.B.
“The F.F.B. is one of many federations; many of whom remain unregistered up to now; many of whom enjoy the sporting facilities from the national sport council. Why single out one when everyone is suppose to be equal? There is no answer from the national sports council. That should weigh heavily on the minds of Belizeans. Is that how we are going to be ruled that if they don’t like your president or they don’t like an office of your organization, you are being singled out for big stick treatment when others are being given cake? This is really ridiculous. I am hopeful that my clients are going to prevail. If you read the basis on which the national sports council refuse to register the football federation of Belize is because of some undefined democratic principle, issues of political science which they are trying to put in a straight jacket and find in the context of the law; that’s pure nonsense. There is no law in Belize that says voting by hands is illegal. Members of the national assembly themselves vote by the show of hands, so are they doing an illegal act? Are they doing an illegal act?”
Jules Vasquez, 7 News
“They are saying it contravenes FIFA statutes.”
“FIFA statues do not say federations cannot provide in their constitution hat voting can be by hand. There is nothing in FIFA statues saying that that is contradicting to the FIFA Statues. FIFA does not say who is to supervise the elections of football federations. It doesn’t say that. Of course there is no law in Belize which prohibits that. There is really maybe a law within the minister of sports in the national sports council which only they know of which prohibits that. There are several matches which played under the F.F.B.—under 14, under 15, under 16, senior team and so, women football and so. So basically I think it is nonsensical for the representatives of the national sports council and the minister to say there is one football field in Belmopan or that the FIFA football is being played in Honduras. What happens to those other games? The agency remains, it is pressing and anyone with eyes can see that there is disruption in the fixtures.”
“Dr. Kaseke, in your presentation, you argued that the minister acted outside of his authority in deciding to ban the F.F.B. from participating in football activities. Can you expand on that a little bit?”
“Yeah. He had no statutory basis to do what he did. I think it’s because he has political powers that he can do what he wants to do. There is a difference between exercising political power and exercising legal power. And unless the minister guessed the difference between the two, I think you will find that people will be taking him to court.”
Late this evening, Kaseke asked the court to allow him to cross examine the Minister of Sports John Saldivar and Patrick Henry of the National Sports Council. The case continues.