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Sep 26, 2002

Two officials resign from Football Federation

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Today, the General Secretary and an executive member of the Football Federation of Belize resigned from their positions. This evening, Ruperto Vicente and Gina Zabaneh held a joint press conference to tell the media that their decision was based on several differences they had with the Federation and President Bertie Chimilio’s unwillingness to correct those problems. Vicente claims that eight months ago after he gave up his job as a referee to take up the position at the F.F.B., he soon realised that what the president wanted was a yes man, not someone who would genuinely work towards developing the sport.

Ruperto Vicente, Former General Secretary, F.F.B.

“I am not the individual who would say yes to everything. I believe I am a free thinker, I am an independent thinker and I’m also an individual who believes in honesty. And I take great pride in honesty and especially in the management of public affairs. I believe in transparency when running public affairs, and football is a public business. I do not welcome disrespect and in the Executive of the F.F.B., there has been a lot of disrespect.

The General Secretary of the F.F.B., myself, was never allowed to do what is required of him by the statues, and I took issues with those. I have discussed those issues with the President, but obviously the President was never interested in that and he would not allow the General Secretary to do his job. The other issue, which includes finances, yes, the new statues requires that the General Secretary be aware of all financial arrangements of the F.F.B., but this was never allowed because it is believed that only the president should have that authority or should be responsible for the finances of the F.F.B.

The other issue had to do with the disciplinary committees that were put in place. The statues clearly state that all standing committees of the F.F.B. are to be appointed by the General Council of the Federation. The General Council today has not been presented with a list of individuals who are to serve on those committees. And the General Council had not to this date appointed any standing committees. So the Disciplinary Committee, the Appeals Committee that dealt with these sanctions–I said this to the executive-are illegal because they were never appointed by the General Council of the F.F.B. Therefore then, I can say to you today that the statues by which we were elected to office, we are not living by that statue.

As for Gina Zabaneh, she says she will first need to examine the issues facing football before she makes any decisions. The press conference was organised by the Belize Premier Football League, which had previously parted company from the F.F.B.


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