July 6, 2018
‘Ban’ of the year

Mardi Gras may have come one week early for some people, when on Tuesday the football world was greeted with the news that president of the St Vincent and the Grenadines Football Federation (SVGFF) Venold Coombs was slapped with a two year ban and a fine of US$40,000.

Coombs’ ban was handed down by the adjudicatory chamber of the independent ethics committee of FIFA, he having been found guilty of violating article 21 which deals with bribery and corruption, article 19 – conflicts of interest and article 15 (Loyalty) of the FIFA Code of Ethics.”

This prevents Coombs from being involved in any football related activities (administrative, sports or any other) at the national and international levels.

Coombs was being investigated since June, 9, 2016 in respect of the resale of tickets for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™.

As a consequence, the investigatory chamber analysed allegations that Coombs had sold tickets purchased by the SVGFF and by him personally, in his capacity as a FIFA standing committee member, for a profiteering mark-up.

It would have been sweet music to the ears of many that Coombs has finally been disgraced.

In fact, some persons would have rejoiced in Coombs’ demise.

Human nature would have dictated people’s reactions as Coombs spared little time in publicly humiliating those whom he believed were in opposition to his opinions and style of leadership.

Coombs, since returning to the presidency of the SVGFF in September 2011, has racked up countless instances of degrading others.

But he did not only shame the SVGFF and the sporting community, but he was a shame to St Vincent and the Grenadines as a whole.

In short, Coombs was the best example of what any leader of any organisation should not be.

As it stands, the cycle of justice has taken its time, but has ground fine.

Coombs can look at himself in the mirror with some sense of remorse, but should now acknowledge that he is the one who is experiencing being in the element of darkness.

It is he Coombs that has become the administrative misfit, the element of deceiving and deception and the destabilising character of the SVGFF.

It is he who is the hermit as he is left all alone to face the compensative wrath of FIFA’s ethics committee.

His display as president of the SVGFF took centre stage against the many good things that he has been responsible for under his watch.

Coombs’ pursuance of a property (an administrative building) on behalf of the SVGFF, the purchase of a bus, the provision of club assistance to all participating units in national tournaments, the increased prize monies for all competitions, have been obscured by his belittling character traits.

The harsh realities of leadership have hit home, as Coombs is the lone person feeling the effects of his ban and what some may deem disgrace.

Whilst Coombs may have been the sole casualty on the issue of the tickets, there seems to be some missing parts which make a mockery of common sense.

It is incomprehensive that Coombs was given unilateral power on such a matter.

In the same manner in which Coombs and his executive for the last two years, continuously denied that he was under investigation, the real truth would one day come out about others’ involvement in the World Cup ticket sales scam.

Amidst the current state of our football and national injury, as it is St Vincent and the Grenadines’ football that has been tainted by FIFA ethics committee’s findings, it runs deeper.

Coombs’ fate was in his hands and he played into the projections that he would self- destruct.

But there is a big lesson that should be learnt in the saga.

Persons in leadership positions should be cognisant that they are not lords onto themselves and it would be reciprocal that the way you treat others, you would one day be treated in like manner or even worse.

It must be remembered too, that nothing we do goes unrewarded.

As the Mighty Shadow said in calypso some time ago: “Do good and good will follow you, but if you do bad, your journey is hard.”