On Target
November 4, 2011

Setting the order of operations

The decision by the Executive of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Football Federation to part company with its General Secretary Ian Hypolite has set a precedent as to the way they intend to deal with the affairs of the organisation.{{more}}

The new Executive under Venold Coombs has sent a clear message that anyone who has a cloud of any sort hovering over his or her head will have no place in the national Football body.

This is good, as it means that persons within the ranks of the current Executive must be above board, and are expected to receive similar treatment, should they be found wanting ethically or otherwise.

It is the hope of most Football lovers here that Hypolite’s termination was not based on any ill will, witch hunt or personal vendetta, but merely the procedural undertakings of the SVGFF.

The former General Secretary Hypolite, who had been in the post for 17 months, was found guilty by the world governing body FIFA for his failure to show loyalty to FIFA and report to FIFA what occurred at a Caribbean Football Union (CFU) Special Meeting, held in Trinidad and Tobago May 10 and 11 this year.

The former General Secretary was also found guilty of not observing the FIFA statutes as a General Secretary in his awareness and commitment to his responsibilities at the said meeting.

The investigations carried out by FIFA’s Ethics Committee were in connection with allegations leveled at former FIFA presidential candidate Qatari Mohammed bin Hammam, who was accused of offering the CFU officials US$40,000, in what was considered a cash for vote ploy.

Hypolite, and former President of the SVGFF Joseph Delves, who was also present at the May meeting, have throughout the investigation maintained their innocence of receiving any monies, hence it may be concluded that St. Vincent and the Grenadines did not receive any monies.

Yes, heads have rolled as a consequence of the much publicised dealings against probable corruption among the Football officials.

Critical in the several releases made by FIFA about the suspensions, fines and reprimands handed down to those deemed guilty was the terse and almost ambiguous nature of the wordings.

Can this be explained by the need for FIFA to guard itself from itself?

In dispensing its latest judicial rulings, one must be aware that the latest saga was simply the straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back in FIFA’s scheme of things.

FIFA itself, one can safely say, has no moral authority when it comes to corruption.

Accusations of corruption have always been part of the world body. Much of it surfaced in last December’s vote to award hosting rights for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

FIFA officials Ricardo Teixeira, Nicolas Leoz and former President Joao Havelange were accused of receiving payments from ISL.

Farcical it is that FIFA is moving swiftly to institute anti- corruption laws in order to negate what happened in Trinidad and Tobago recently.

But interestingly, there will not be much of a change, but a re-arranging of things, as many of the appointees on the various sub- committees are themselves members of their respective national associations, as the Boys Club/ Secret Lodge type of operation.

As it is, small islands like St. Vincent and the Grenadines and others in the Caribbean have become pawns in the entire scheme of things.

The plot against the CFU nations will soon unfold.

CFU is a sub set of the CONCACAF Federation, which is a power broker in FIFA. It seems that every move is being made to upset the applecart.

The plan is clear, destroy CFU and let the bigger forces, the USA, Mexico and the likes, control CONCACAF.

Locally, Coombs and company must be mindful of the bigger picture, and not be sucked into the pond of Football’s deadly piranhas.

Instead, the Coombs led Executive should be more focussed on getting the business of Football back as the “Game of the People”, with professionalism and fervour worthy of national sporting administrators.