Former VP calls for fresh SVGFF executive
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January 12, 2018
Former VP calls for fresh SVGFF executive

A former third vice-president of the St Vincent and the Grenadines Football Federation (SVGFF) wants nothing short of the removal the current executive of the organization.

Elroy Paul Boucher, who claims that threats have been made on his life, is calling on affiliates of the SVGFF to take this action when they come together at a meeting next Wednesday, January 17, at the SVGFF’s conference room.

A leading member of the Roxdale football club, Boucher wants the “entire executive” of the SVGFF replaced, in light of reports that president Venold Coombs, has been investigated by football’s governing body.

At the centre of the alleged investigations is the sale of World Cup tickets ahead of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, a matter which Boucher placed in the public domain since 2015.

Speaking to SEARCHLIGHT yesterday, Boucher requested “closure” of alleged corruption within the national football organization, and puts the ultimatum in the hands of the affiliates.  

He recalled at the annual general meeting in November 2015, affiliates had unwittingly voted against conducting a forensic audit of the ticket sales.

“I fully believe that the affiliates erred in their judgement, many of them… I think that they love football, but for whatever reason, they were not clear in their thinking …. It is their time now to correct the mistake that they made,” Boucher said.

Boucher revealed that as a member of the executive, he had led the charge of having the concerns with the ticket sales investigated.

“An auditor had asked us as an executive to even do that, but it was voted down,” Boucher said.

He, therefore, holds the view that with the current situation being an untenable one, the affiliates have to take a firm stance and remove present officers of the SVGFF’s executive.

“When I look at the current executive, you (are) not hearing anything about this matter from any of them and I am sure they are aware of the investigations … How come you could be aware that someone is under investigation…, who is the leadership of an organization and sit quietly and say nothing and do nothing…,” Boucher proffered.

“In order to have a clean fresh start, you have got to move with a new executive,” the former SVGFF third vice-president added.

Boucher claimed that some of the bad publicity could have been avoided had persons taken heed not to re-elect Coombs, in the light of the pending investigations.

The investigations of the SVGFF’s ticket sales seem to have been ongoing for some time.

Former acting general secretary of the SVGFF Raymond Trimmingham, who had travelled to Brazil to collect the tickets, confirmed to SEARCHLIGHT that he was summoned to Mexico on May 11, 2016, to have an in-person interview with FIFA’s Ethics Committee, as they carried out investigations on the sale of the tickets involving the SVGFF.

Trimmingham, though, said that he was not able to give them much information, as he knew little about the tickets, except that he was the courier.

SEARCHLIGHT on June 17, 2014 carried an article in which president of the SVGFF Venold Coombs sought to explain the circumstances surrounding the sale of the tickets.

“We got the tickets; in fact, we got just over 200, less than the 250 which were allocated to us… We sold them to another buyer and this money came in very handy…” Coombs told SEARCHLIGHT then. Coombs mentioned that it was only a percentage of the ticket sales that ended up in the coffers of the SVGFF. In that same article, Coombs said the actions of the SVGFF were legitimate and ethical.

“There is nothing wrong about doing that; it was done above board…That is a normal practice by countries like us…People here don’t buy the tickets … It is only one guy who works at the port, who came one day and inquired at the office, but he never came back,” Coombs stated.

Hopefully, Boucher’s wishes and the fleshing out of other pressing matters will be realized and made clearer at next Wednesday’s meeting.

An email sent to affiliates by administrative secretary of the SVGFF Devron Poyer yesterday, January 11, listed the agenda items for Wednesday’s meeting, which includes the presentation of the executive summary; presentation of financial statement and audited balance sheet for 2016, along with other business.

The email added: “An Extra Ordinary Meeting would be held on Wednesday 31st January 2018 at the SVGFF Conference Room from 5 p.m. to discuss the questions/concerns raised by some of the Affiliates via email. Please be guided accordingly and be reminded that a dress code of semi formal is in effect for the Meetings of the Affiliates”.