Posted: Friday, December 1, 2017. 6:02 a.m. CST.
By Glenn Tillett: Between these lines …
“I’m not riding with anyone Jules, but I would want to believe, and I would hope I should say, that the people who will be voting, it’s this Saturday, the people will be voting Saturday and will make a correct decision. And I honestly in my heart believe that Mr. Fabro and Mr. Sharp are a cut from a clean and immaculate and almost impeccable cloth and I would wish them all success.” – Hon. Michael Finnegan – UDP Mesopotamia. “I don’t know that Mr. Finnegan’s involvement in sports.” – Hon. John Saldivar – Minister of Defense (Source: Channel 7 News, Wednesday, November 29, 2017).
I don’t know how old is Belmopan ‘jefe’ John Saldivar, but I am pretty sure he’s younger than I am, and I am younger than the de-facto UDP party whip Michael Finnegan.
I know too that when I was a teen, Mr. Finnegan was managing football teams and writing about sports in the long-defunct now Beacon newspaper. The man is a treasure trove of Belize sports history, especially football.
The problem here is that John Saldivar after pussy-footing around for a few days, endorsed Sergio Chuc publicly on his Facebook page. Mr. Saldivar is a ranking politician and a few people looked on in askance, as they say, because they are well aware that FIFA, football’s governing body, frowns on “political interference” in football affairs. I wonder what they think of Belize’s situation where a politician owns the leading semi-pro team and is the cabinet minister responsible for another? He was also the cabinet minister responsible for yet another while one of his party’s financiers and western ‘caudillo’ owns one of the other teams in the League.
The FIFA rule of non-interference was established in order to prevent political interference 2 decades ago when the FIFA Congress voted in favour of enacting it. The non-interference rule provides that “Recourse to any court of law is prohibited unless specifically provided in the FIFA regulations. Recourse to ordinary courts of law for all types of provisional matters is also prohibited”. Furthermore, Section 13.1 (I) of the FIFA Statutes provide that members are obliged to manage their affairs independently and ensure that their own affairs are not influenced by third parties. Section 13.1 (I) read together with Section 68.2 of the FIFA Statutes form the rule of non-interference.
On Sunday Saldivar’s Belmopan Bandits and Sergio Chuc’s Verdes will square off in the first match of the PLB championship tilt, the day after the FFB election for president and vice president has been completed at Belize City’s Princess Ramada Hotel. Chuc is widely seen as the frontrunner for the post because Saldivar and the semi-pro league who have 6 of the 20 votes that will be cast, have reputedly endorsed him. He needs 5 more votes to claim the crown. He also has an advantage because there are 3 other candidates in the race and logic dictates that they will split the remaining 14 votes from the 7 district associations who along with the league, comprise the FFB Congress.
To date, the FFB has refused to release the names of exactly who are the voting delegates. As per the statutes, we know that they must come from the 5 member executives of the associations and the League, who will also likely add an owner representative to complete its voting bloc. They mutter that they do not want the delegates to face undue pressure from the public at large.
See, the Fabro-Sharp candidacy is the overwhelming favorite of the public at large, and the delegates have been hearing exactly that chorus. After more than 20 years of hijinks, corruption, and manifest incompetence, the mythical football family is sick and tired and wants a new start. They want the new broom.
With due respect Mr. Saldivar I’d bet on Mr. Finnegan’s football knowledge over Saldivar’s any day. And I never underestimate the intelligence of the Belizean people, the football family who have been staying away from semi-pro games in such droves that most games are moribund affairs.
The views expressed in this article are those of the writer and not necessarily those of Breaking Belize News.
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