August 16, 2011
SVGFF will co-operate

The St. Vincent and the Grenadines Football Federation (SVGFF) will continue to co-operate with Football’s world governing body, FIFA, in its further investigations in connection with the alleged bribery scandal involving ex-presidential candidate, Qatari’s Mohamed bin Hammam.{{more}}

In the much publicised saga, it is alleged that representatives from each Caribbean Football Union (CFU) member state were offered US$40,000 at the meeting in Trinidad and Tobago on May 10 and 11, 2011, in a possible exchange for votes, to support then Asia Football chief bin Hamman, in his bid to unseat long-serving FIFA President Joseph Sepp Blatter.

St. Vincent and the Grenadines Football Federation President Joseph Delves and General Secretary Ian Hypolite are among 16 Caribbean football officials to be interviewed by former FBI Director Louis Freeh’s team.

Both Delves and Hypolite were St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ representatives at the extraordinary meeting.

When SEARCHLIGHT contacted the SVGFF last Friday, for a response on the latest development, Hypolite referred this reporter to a June 6, press release.

The press release in part stated: “The SVGFF recognizes the need for the public to be informed; but except that the SVGFF is cooperating with the investigation, it cannot discuss the matter in any detail while it is before the Judicial Bodies of FIFA and still under investigation”.

Hypolite, however, told SEARCHLIGHT that St. Vincent and the Grenadines has not been found guilty of any wrongdoing.

FIFA had previously instructed Freeh to conduct an initial investigation into the bribery scandal of all the countries represented at the May 10 and 11 meeting, after federations from the Bahamas, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, and the Turks and Caicos became the whistle blowers on bin Hamman.

Then it was the turn of Aruba, Curacao, Grenada, Suriname and Puerto Rico, who corroborated the statements in Freeh’s interrogations.

FIFA in a press statement last Thursday said: “It is important to note the investigations are still ongoing, and that it is therefore possible that further proceedings could be opened in the future.”

The investigation is the most recent fallout of the bribery scandal which resulted in FIFA slapping bin Hamman with a life ban and the resignation of former CONCACAF boss Austin “Jack” Warner.

Hammam has lodged an appeal against his ban.

Warner, a long-serving FIFA Vice-President, and one of the most powerful men in world Football, resigned two months ago, when the scandal surfaced, instead of facing possible FIFA sanctions.

Following bin Hammam’s ban, two CFU officials also were casualties. Trinidadians Debbie Minguell and Jason Sylvester were both banned from taking part in any football-related activity for a one-year period, after they were found to have breached various articles of the FIFA Code of Ethics.

More was to follow, as senior CONCACAF Vice-President Lisle Austin was given a one-year ban by FIFA, after the Barbadian challenged his overthrow as acting CONCACAF president in a Bahamas law court back in June.

Austin had been installed as Acting President of the governing body for football in the North, Central American and Caribbean area following the suspension of Austin “Jack” Warner.(RT)