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Jun 14, 2017

The ‘Football’ of the F.F.B. Presidency in Dispute

The upcoming election of the Football Federation of Belize is being hotly contested between two personalities well-grounded in the sport. So far in this newscast you have heard the jabs exchanged between Ruperto Vicente, who is seeking to return to the presidency, and another aficionado, Sergio Chuc, who has been disqualified.  In the intricate world of football, Chuc and the other aspiring president Marlon Kuylen, in their role as VP’s, had teamed up but they could not see eye-to-eye with former president Vicente so they defected. Kuylen now goes up against Vicente on June twenty-fourth. In the following report, News Five’s Isani Cayetano puts the controversy aside and gets a sense from both sides on their plans to develop the sport.   


Isani Cayetano, Reporting

The leadership of the Football Federation of Belize is perhaps the most coveted seat in semi-professional sports in the country.  Indeed, not only is it the largest athletics association, but with financial support from football’s international governing body, presidency of F.F.B. is certainly a plum job.  On June twenty-fourth, two candidates, both aficionados of the beautiful game, will vie for control at a scheduled congress.  Interim president Marlon Kuylen is challenging Ruperto Vicente, the immediate past president, for that number one position.


Marlon Kuylen

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

“There are two positions available that were not filled last year and that is the post of president and one vice president.  So far, as you know, there are two persons that have been accepted to run as president and two as vice presidents.”


Since being sidelined from the administration of association football fourteen months ago, Vicente has been diligently strengthening his power base.


Ruperto Vicente

Ruperto Vicente, Immediate Past President, F.F.B.

“I have been working for the past year.  It’s been a long campaign for me and I’ve been in communication with all the congress members and so it has been going well for me.  I’ve been pushing for the development of youth football in Belize because that’s where we need to start.  So I have a ten-year plan that I need to put into effect so that within ten years or by ten years time we should be able to compete successfully at the World Cup level.”


During that same time, Vicente’s political opponent has also been hard at work formulating a plan for developing the sport among the youth.


Marlon Kuylen

“Our people are impatient; they want to see results now.  But I can tell you that they will be disappointed because we have just started.  Isani, this whole year was spent trying to right the wrongs in football, one of them being corruption, and planning, because FIFA has an additional seven hundred and fifty thousand U.S. [dollars] a year [that] we can access.  But there was no vision, no mission, no structure in place.  And so we spent a whole year huddling in the conference room coming up with this plan which FIFA, by the way, mandated that we do to access these funds.  The deadline was June first.  So we now have a document, a comprehensive four-year plan with the main focus being youth and women’s football, because, of course, our future is with the youths.”


Manifestos aside, these candidates, including Sergio Chuc, who has since been disqualified from running, all share an interesting history with each other.  Kuylen and Chuc both served as vice presidents during Vicente’s tenure, but they couldn’t see eye to eye so with the former head so they eventually defected.


Ruperto Vicente

“He was a part of my executive and only until the last, the latter part of last year that they turned against me and started to campaign against me.”


Isani Cayetano

“You’re running at this point for presidency against Ruperto Vicente who has been an immediate past president, so to speak, for want of a better expression.  What happens should you find yourself in a position where he is victorious come June twenty-fourth and resumes his presidency?  Are you prepared sir, to either work with him as first vice president, or what happens next with Marlon Kuylen and football?”


Marlon Kuylen

“Well if that should happen, I would sincerely hope that he has learned his lesson and that he needs to follow the statutes, he needs to follow the plans that we already have in place now.  Because if he comes in here and changes up this thing and starts going in all directions like he used to do before and having things sporadically here, there and everywhere, FIFA will not accept it because we already have our contract of objectives.  It has our timelines, it has all of our programs and it has where and how that money will be spent.  So if he thinks that he’s coming in here and changing everything and going back to where it was before, he has a rude awakening.  And talking about now, my personal views, if I would be able to work with him, that’s yet to be seen.  That’ll give me nightmares.”


As for the pickle that Kuylen now finds himself in since his former running mate Sergio Chuc has been deemed unfit for candidacy?


Marlon Kuylen

“Well we’re still friends.  Of course, at this point it’s strained, as can be expected, you know.  But he knows, he knows that I have nothing to do with him not be able to run and that speaks volumes.  So the respect is still there.  The mutual respect is still there.”


Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

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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