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Aug 20, 2020

F.F.B. to Proceed with Congress Despite COVID Concerns

Onan McLean

The Football Federation of Belize is proceeding with its 2020 congress this Saturday in San Ignacio where it is expected that a new executive will be elected.  The gathering of football faithful, however, is being met with serious concerns since the limit for any congregation is ten persons.  As it stands, the congress itself exceeds that number and with a steady increase in COVID-19 cases, there is a fear that members will be exposed to the virus.  Candidates have written to the FFB electoral committee voicing their concerns and this afternoon, News Five spoke with Onan McLean and Doctor Eugene Cleland, who are offering themselves for president and vice president, respectively.


Onan McLean, Presidential Candidate, F.F.B.

“The issue at hand is currently we are under new rules, new regulations in terms of the size that can gather at one location or for one event.  Currently that is ten.  Congress itself is twenty-one persons, you would have staff, you would have the current executive and you would have the electoral committee, plus other candidates which could come up to around thrity-five to forty persons easily at the same venue.  You may argue that you will separate them in separate rooms and everything but it’s the same event.  Also, during that congress people will have to go in to cast their ballots in one single location.  You’re bringing people from Corozal, Orange Walk and all districts.  So I think the F.F.B. is currently going against the regulations and not being conscious of the health of its members.  Some of the members that we know have underlying conditions.  Some are diabetic, hypertensive, everything.  So if they go ahead and it’s allowed, does it mean that other people are allowed to have events in the same nature?”


Eugene Cleland

Dr. Eugene Cleland, Vice Presidential Candidate

“There’s no urgency to have the congress on our part.  I think it’s irresponsible of the F.F.B. to even consider having a congress at this time.  FIFA has postponed its congress.  If you look at international news, New Zealand as a country has postponed its general elections.  So this congress that we are having is an elected congress and I guess there is a sense of urgency for the incumbents for their own reasons, but discussing with delegates and other participants of the congress, some have their own reservations about attending the congress.  Just the nature of a congress there will be challenges to limit congregation before, after or during our congress.  Just the counting of ballots, that procedure needs to be witnessed by candidates.  So even though the F.F.B. has set out their own protocol there is no significant deviation from the standard protocols that are in place when you enter and leave a premise.  That won’t mitigate contact, it further exposes us and like Onan mentioned, there is a wide cross-section convening from all different districts of the country and as far as I am concerned, I don’t see that there is a need to convene the congress at this juncture. We can wait.”

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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