Posted: Friday, June 11, 2021. 6:23 pm CST.
By Rubén Morales Iglesias: Seven Premier League of Belize (PLB) clubs are opposed to Concacaf’s approval of Verdes representing Belize in the Scotiabank Concacaf League.
The seven clubs wrote a letter dated June 8, the same day Concacaf advised the Football Federation of Belize (FFB) that the regional governing football body had approved Verdes to represent Belize in the 2021 Scotiabank Concacaf League.
Owners and managers of Police United, Freedom Fighters, Placencia Assassins, Bandits, BDF, San Pedro Pirates, and Altitude wrote a letter to FFB General Secretary Earl Jones expressing their strong opposition to what they termed “this unilateral decision made by the president of the FFB and without the knowledge of the FFB Executive Committee.”
At the time of their writing the letter the FFB had no yet made any public announcement (that came today), so the clubs referred to a decision which “has been taken, purported by the Football Federation of Belize, to endorse Verdes FC as Belize’s representative for this year’s Scotiabank Concacaf League tournament.”
The FFB today said they recommended Verdes to Concacaf based on the Tournament Regulations and that the Concacaf Council approved the Cayo team on June 6.
The FFB said that the criteria used to recommend Verdes considered four points:
“1. Champion for the PLB Opening season 2019-2020
2. The Club leading in the PLB Closing season 2019-2020 before the competition had to be suspended because of Covid-19 restrictions
3. The Club that has had the best performance in a Concacaf Tournament
4. The Club with the most players on the Belize National Team for Qatar World Cup Qualifiers 2022.”
The PLB clubs said “we wish to express our condemnation of this decision.”
The clubs said that since the PLB did not have a championship to determine Belize’s representative, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, “a proper and meaningful consultation process among Clubs ought to have been taken to determine the League’s decision on how best to determine our country’s representative.”
As to the reasons the FFB mentioned for their decision, the clubs said the PLB on consultation with them already gave Verdes a break for the 2020 Scotiabank Concacaf League based on their having been the leaders of the COVID-19 suspended tournament.
In 2020, Verdes ended withdrawing from the tournament while in the Dominican Republic because of COVID-19 infections that affected their players.
The PLB clubs further said that the FFB should have followed the example set by Costa Rica to select their representatives.
The letter said the clubs are notifying not only the FFB, but Concacaf and the Central American Football Union (Uncaf) as well, while requesting “the intervention of the appropriate body to act.”
They close by telling the FFB that they wrote the national football governing body “in the spirit of football’s fair play mantra” and “now seek the relevant bodies intervention in support of fostering and upholding this noble principle.”
The letter is signed by Andres Makin, general manager of Police United, Patrick Flores, owner of Freedom Fighters, Dean Ferrel, owner of the Placencia Assassins, Kenneth Budna, general manager of Bandits Sports, Kenroy Smith, president of BDF FC, Mark A, Maldonado, owner of the San Pedro Pirates, and Jordan Zabaneh, owner of Altitude FC.
The letter was copied to Concacaf and Uncaf.
The FFB said that earlier CONCACAF Director of Competitions, Carlos Fernandez, informed them by letter on June 8 of Verdes participation in the Concacaf League.
“As per Concacaf protocol, whenever there is a change in the qualifications criteria for a club participating in any competition, it is of necessity for the Concacaf Council to approve for such a change. We inform you that the decision to have Verdes FC represent Belize in the upcoming 2021 Scotiabank Concacaf League was put in front of the Council on June 6th and approved.,” Concacaf said.
“We look forward to having Verdes FC as a participant in this competition and wish you and the Club all the best.”
The FFB said they were please “that Concacaf has decided on making such a decision and the current PLB Champions, Verdes FC, gets the opportunity to represent Belize in the upcoming Scotiabank Concacaf League tournament.”
The FFB closed their statement saying “We wish Verdes FC the best of luck!”
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