Ozzie pulls CIFA public cash

| 25/08/2015 | 72 Comments
Cayman News Service

Osbourne Bodden, Minister of Community Affairs, Youth and Sports

(CNS): The sports minister has pulled government’s contribution to the Cayman Islands Football Association (CIFA) after the row over the refusal by the football body to accept two challengers to the long-entrenched members of the executive committee escalated this week. Osbourne Bodden said that government will, under the current circumstances, redirect the annual payment give to CIFA of $127,775 from the public purse to other sport associations in the face of real concerns that CIFA is failing to clean house and recognise the need for change.

The withdrawal of government funds follows a statement from CIFA yesterday in which officials made it clear that they were not going to honour nominations from two challengers to existing executive members, citing alleged infractions, despite accepting the nominations in the first instance.

The challenge to the current leadership came from Renard Moxam and Sharon Roulstone but the CIFA committee is refusing to allow the pair to stand during this weekend’s annual executive election, which has caused wide public outcry as many believe the current leadership of CIFA is not only out of touch and failing the sport but also tainted by the wider FIFA probe, in which the suspended president, Jeffrey Webb, is deeply entrenched and refusing to admit anything is wrong.

Minister Bodden said Tuesday that the “technicality used to block the bids of those seeking office” may be in the rule book but, in light of all that has happened, it was time to allow some changes to the CIFA executive. Querying why CIFA’s articles of association were designed to require almost 20% of the team membership to nominate anyone, the sports minister said it was easier to run for political office than to get a volunteer post in CIFA.

But of greater concern for the minister is CIFA’s failure to address the lack of transparency in the association, despite requests from his ministry. Bodden said that in earlier correspondence the current acting president, Bruce Blake, had told him that he had “implored the members to search their conscience in light of circumstances surrounding the suspended president and CIFA, and to step down if they saw fit”, but no one has stepped down.

This means that on Saturday only two positions would have been up for election, including Blake’s role as First VP and Mark Campbell as the Assistant Secretary. But the two challengers have been rejected and CIFA shos no signs of bending to either public or ministerial pressure.

Blake has also stated that Jeffrey Webb, who is under house arrest in the United States accused of accepting millions of dollars in bribes in relation to his role in particular as the CONCACAF president, remains as the “suspended president of CIFA” and his seat was uncontested as his term was still running.

Given all that has happened, Bodden said that, as the largest local financial donor to CIFA, government has a “vested interest in ensuring public funds are spent properly for the good of football development”, as he announced the decision to pull the funding.

“We have therefore decided that, regrettably, we cannot financially support CIFA any further under the current circumstances. With a new season just around the corner, it is hoped that the current executive of CIFA will do what is right in the public interest,” he added.

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Comments (72)

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  1. Just Sayin' says:

    Cayman would be a far better place if more people pulled out more often.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Seems that everyone who disagrees with Ozzie’s decision claim “the kids will suffer”. Does anyone actually know what CIFA does for the benefit of the kids? Looks like it is just a bunch of grown ups spending substantially all the money they get on a C rated adult league while traveling the world.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Time for Ozzie to go direct to FIFA and tell them to pull CIFA’s membership and start fresh. Guaranteed they’ll listen.

    • Anonymous says:

      LOL!!! Ozzie doesn’t have that much power my darlings!

      • Anonymous says:

        You miss the point. FIFA expects the national organizations to be in tight with their governments.

        • The Beautiful Game says:

          Other than FIFA’s own regulations opposing political interference with national associations, you might be on to something.

          • Anonymous says:

            FIFA is opposed to political governments interfering with their local Association, but they have no regulations suggesting that their Associations should NOT interfere with political governments. It would appear as if FIFA likes it when their local presidents have political connections. That way, FIFA only has to top-up the little bit of money that the Association was not able to suck out of the government for expenses.

      • Anonymous. Blazer Ny. says:

        Cayman Islands govt can not control Cifa They can stop the grants Fifa will still support Cifa . Cayman island govt can not make Bruce and the others to step down. Cayman Islands govt can’t rule Cifa. So issue can threaten Cifa all he wants.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I’m amazed that no one has made the most obvious connection yet, not anonymous bloggers or reporters. When you look at all the names associated with CIFA, Blake, Moxam, Scotland, Campbell, Watson. Glidden etc. etc. What do they all have in common, let me give you a clue, it’s a three letter acronym, starts with U and ends with P, come on guys, put the pieces together, CIFA is just a sub of a bigger organization and I’m not talking FIFA.

    It kind of also explains why the Progressives will have no problem stepping on toes over there, they know where CIFA loyalty lays

  5. Anonymous says:

    Since Government want to start pulling funds from football, start with the club that do not exist, but receives government funding every year. Every year this club receives funding and it doesn’t have a team in any of the leagues. Do your research on the proposal document of all the football team and see which teams actually play in the leagues. KMT

  6. Anonymous says:

    There are so many more important issues to be dealt with than taking away funds from CIFA. CIFA is NOT under investigation for any misuse of funds or money laundering, Just because a “friend” did not get in doesn’t mean you have a right to pull funding. Have anyone stopped to think what will happen to OUR youths without the funding? What if all the others donors pull their funds too? CIG need to try clean up all the mess in-house before trying to clean someone-else house

    • Anonymous says:

      What you should be asking is what CIFA has done with all the funds they received from FIFA and where the “Center of Excellence” has gone and why it has taken them so long to put a proper field up, something that should have been happening a long time ago.

      If CIFA isn’t prepared to disclose their expenditures fully, they should not be entitled to funds from the public (ie Government).

      • Tourism says:

        Does CIFA provide audited financials at the end of every fiscal year?

        • Anonymous says:

          If they do, someone should investigate the auditing firm who signed off on the numbers. I think that’s where the Government needs to go, insist on independent financial management, once the hands come out of the cookie jar, I am sure you will see the behaviors changing rapidly and the rats scattering

      • Anonymous says:

        The “Center of Excellence” would presumably be located in the United States. Cayman would have a Centre of Excellence.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Derek Haines for CIFA President

  8. Anonymous says:

    Exactly!

  9. Anonymous says:

    Seriously over $100K per year and what does the football association have to show for it? Don’t get me wrong put money towards them as we should be encouraging our young people to have a skill, but should this not be more evenly distributed? how much do they give to other sports? Keep in mind that CIFA used to get an allowance from FIFA as well. Meanwhile other sports like swimming get barely anything? what about tennis? honestly there needs to be more transparency in this sort of stuff.

  10. Anonymous says:

    CIFA is failing to clean house and recognize the need for change !!!!!!

    Pot calling the kettle Black, who is the CIG to point the finger of guilt until they clean their own house…

  11. Anonymous says:

    My problem with the CIFA elections is that Renard has positioned himself as a challenger with ‘new ideas’ and ‘new ways of doing things’ when it is clear to everyone that he is a fundamental part of the old CIFA establishment, engrossed in the ‘old boys CIFA network’. Without any manifesto from Renard or indication of what he proposes to bring to the table how on earth can he be viewed as a ‘fresh new face at CIFA’?
    Renard (if he got elected) would simply be replacing one of the old guard with another from the old guard. An exercise in futility that Cayman football and our youth will pay for whilst we watch our money slip away on first class trips abroad and inflated salaries for executive CIFA staff?

    • Anonymous says:

      first – he had a circulated his plan – which is more that Bruce did
      second – he has not been a part of the CIFA management until very recently
      third – he has done more for the national teams in his short term than anyone in the pervious 15 years

      and more importantly – he is the only one that has stopped complaining from the sidelines and actually put his hat in the ring.

  12. caymanaindonkey says:

    Congrats CI Government.
    Now for all of us who sponsor teams should follow, withdraw all our sponsorships and moneys to these teams and members.

    Let put our funds into government and private school sports, making sure CIFA don’t get their hands on it…

  13. Anonymous says:

    Why would CIFA need Public cash, didnt they get a substantia amount of $$ from FIFA? I assume that went elsewhere

  14. Jack Warner Ebanks says:

    CIFA Executive Committee

    Bruce Blake
    Paul Macey
    Peter Campbell
    Mark Campbell
    Mark Scotland
    Martha Godet

    The CIFA congress must be rescheduled until the end of September. Allowing for open elections. All current members must resign in the best interests of the sport and CIFA. All clubs must demonstrate a conscience and do what is right. Stop selling out for crumbs!

    Make no mistake the suspended president (currently under house arrest in NYC) is controlling this entire process and has held an iron grip over the sport for 25 years. Bruce Blake is a puppet with delusions of grandeur.

  15. Anonymous says:

    I just read the CIFA statement given in the Compass – complete lawyer talk! It is funny how they can find loop holes when they want to and it suits them but all of the sudden everything has to go by the books.

    Where are those books setting out where all the funding has gone to???? If CIFA is to remain politically neutral, how come CIFA has accepted Government funding for years???

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes the statement was very complete, and timely, similar to the statement released when CIFA’s president was arrested. I think… I am not sure if I saw it now.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Rugby club had their AGM last night. You could be nominated up until the voting began as long as you were a paid up member. Everything was in the open.in the FIFA ratings we sit 189. On the IRB rankings we sit at 60.
    Where would you put your money Ozzie?
    The sevens program is going brilliant and the next 10years will have the current youth players coming to international level like never before.

    • Truth B. Told says:

      Team sports, rugby included, will never be successful on the world stage. It’s a matter of perspective. 60/112 is hardly much better than 189/208.

      • Anonymous says:

        Truth B. Told, Our rugby is ranked ahead of 46% of the playing countries and in football we are ahead of only 9% of the member countries so rugby is a doing a lot better internationally I would say. This is despite football being a national sport funded heavily by government and FIFA.

        As a former national football player from the era when we beat Jamaica in the regional competition 1993 and competed well against all of the other Caribbean countries I think it is a disgrace the backsliding that has happened to football since, despite the great investments in facilities by the government and the funding provided by government and FIFA to the sport locally.

        I applaud rugby for their accomplishments. They may not be world beaters but are certainly recognized as a top ranked team in the region behind the USA and Canada. More importantly the Rugby Association has made great progress over a short period of time with a well governed organization, heavily focused on executing a strategic plan with funding from the private sector companies who can see exactly where their money is going. A large part of their plan is to attract and develop Caymanian youth players and I now have many friends whose kids are playing rugby instead of football, which I think is great for diversity in sports locally.

        Finally, I agree that the sheer numbers are against us in team sports to produce a high ranking on the world stage, but does that mean we shouldn’t try to climb as high as possible? There is no arguing that there is a lot of sporting talent here considering the success of Kareem Streete-Thompson, Cydonie Mothersill, Shaune and Brett Frazier, Jamal Walton and others. However we will never know how good we can be in team sports like football in the absence of a well organized and transparent governing body, focused on the long-term development and success of the sport.

        • Rick says:

          Don’t kid yourself. Nobody in the Caribbean plays Rugby but a few people within narrow cliques. Football is the people’s sport. The two cannot be compared.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Will CIFA be allowed to hold matches at Government owned facilities? Free of charge?

    • Pray Tell says:

      And what of the “Sports Instructors”, paid for Government funds and operating out of the Sports Office as CIFA and Club football coaches?

      • Anonymous says:

        What about them? They are Department of Sports staff hired to coach in the community and they also assist at some schools just as the basketball, netball and swim coach. From these programs they develop teams in various age groups if the numbers are there.

        If it wasn’t for their programs we wouldn’t have as many youth players coming up with the level skills they have; because with the exception of a few other well runned clubs. There would be no football league.

        These Sports Instructors have nothing at all to do with CIFA nor CIG pulling CIFA funds, they will continue to run their programs and provide an outlet for, and skills training for the football youth of Cayman. All key to keeping even if just a small percentage off the street at the same time honing skills and lending a positive and healthy alternative.

        They, these Instructors are not in CIFA’s pocket nor pals of CIFA, in fact they would tell you they feel that they have not been treated fairly by CIFA. These programs are separate and apart from CIFA; but add much to CIFA various age group and senior league. They make CIFA look as if they are doing something in the community. That is not to say that everyone on the CIFA board are cut of the same cloths. I am certain some are working while others do nothing or just the barest minimum. then again nothing better can be expected because an association should never be allowed to keep the same top executive members at the helm for so long of a period.

        Netball Association next?…

  18. Anonymous says:

    What about corporate sponsors stepping up and withdrawing their support as well (ahem, Fidelity?)?

  19. Anonymous says:

    Listen Bruce, da game… is ower!

  20. Anonymous says:

    Give the funding to the coaches of the grass root programs to ensure that they have the equipment for the various youth programs. Those coaches race after work to games and practice sessions, sweat along with the kids and patiently continue to teach them all they can. Yet, I don’t recall having EVER seen anyone from CIFA come and watch any training sessions or any games cause they only show their face if press is around or XXXXXXX is involved……..

  21. Anonymous says:

    I am glad someone in Government finally does the right thing and is not afraid to step on peoples toes or worried he may lose a few voters.

  22. Bobo says:

    What would we do without men like this in charge phew! What true and honest man.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Good grief! A sensible and immediate decision. Careful though, carry on like that and CIG will lose its reputation….

  24. Anonymous says:

    The wizard has spoken, that’s right Oz, if he doesn’t straighten up, go get that cow cod and straighten him out

  25. Anonymous says:

    Honourable Minister the Grant should be still used to help football. e.g.: Turn the Grant into a football scholastic fund. For those football players who can meet a certain GPA and that is in college presently. What also about the indirect funding. Use of CIG fields and lighting. Are CIFA also going to be restricted from using these facilities.

  26. Anonymous says:

    Good Move. The CIG can’t continue to invest the people’s money in CIFA, given its questionable circumstances and need for a re-organization.

    Never invest funds in an “unsound” organization.

    Let CIFA properly re-org and prove themselves, over time, to be in compliance with their mission before re-entering any further funding agreements. This means they will have to show fair process and accountability.

  27. sors says:

    Finally, someone has done something of substance, more sponsors should do the same, they must realized that the current situation can not go on, CIFA must listen to the public outcry for change. The players must pressure their clubs representatives to demand a change from CIFA. Some of us players recalled that during our qualifying games against Belize, Renard tried very hard to have the CIFA executive provide funding for proper footwear, they refused, Renard managed to get some funding from the ministry of sports to give an allowance of $100.00 to each players towards the purchase of new boots.
    Renard also requested funding for hotel accommodations for the night before the game, CIFA refused, we spent he night at the Family Life Center in an effort to bring unity, we are yet to received a visit form any CIFA executive member, however, as many of you will recall it rained heavily the day of the game against Belize, the current VP Bruce Blake inquired about two hours before the match if we have proper footwear for the game, imaged the concern at that late hour, specially when we now know CIFA has received over $2.5 million dollars in FAP from FIFA over the last few years and the last time we competed internationally at a senior level was in 2011 for WC 2014 qualifying Where has all the money gone????????

    • Anonymous says:

      So the Senior Football National Teams of the richest country in the Caribbean was sleeping in bunk beds the night before a WC qualifying game? What an embarrassment to our players and the country as a whole, on top of that most players did not have proper footwear for the conditions on the day. For this alone the whole CIFA executive board SHOULD have to step-down, this is after all the Rolex administration funds should have been available.

      • Anonymous says:

        Sleeping on bunk beds the night before a WC qualifying game is good bonding. I’m more curious to hear how many training sessions they attended in the months leading up to the game. And if any player did not have proper footwear for a game in Cayman it begs the question “How was he able to display the necessary skills to make the National Team?”

        • Anonymous says:

          Maybe you are not familiar with football in the Cayman Island, football is mostly played at the Annex and Ed Bush fields which are artificial pitches and therefore the players have footwear suitable for that condition. The game against Belize was played at the TBSC which is a natural grass pitch and unfortunately it did rain heavily for most of the day, our players are amateurs and most can not afford to invest $200.00 in footwear they will not be using during the season, this is where CIFA failed the players by not assisting them to have access to suitable equipment.

          • Anonymous says:

            “our players are amateurs and most can not afford to invest $200.00 in footwear”

            Find me one national team player who hasn’t spent more than $200 on his cell phone in the last six months. Let’s talk priorities.

            • sors says:

              You obviously missed the point, personal expenses are something we all have and we have to prioritized accordingly, I am however talking about equipment for which CIFA received funding to make sure it is available to the payers wen they represent the country, they failed to do so.

  28. Anonymous says:

    Talking of local businesses….local licensed banks can follow the lead of the Sports Minister and withdraw CIFA’s banking facilities.

  29. Anonymous says:

    Another action could be for CI Govt to withdraw the Section 80 Status granted to CIFA.

    • Anonymous says:

      One would think the AG would have stepped in by now…..oh wait, that would mean our AG actually doing some work.

    • Anonymous says:

      Why should CIFA, CONCACAF or FIFA have “charity status” in any case??…seems to me they are BIG businesses hiding behind charity status for HUGE tax breaks….and ENORMOUS payouts to “directors” in as many guises as they can, which is not allowed by s80. (Payouts to directors). maybe it is time for a rethink on what constitutes “charity” these days….

  30. Jimmy Greaves says:

    Game over for Bruce Blake and Jeff Webb’s other proxies on the board!

  31. Anonymous says:

    About bloody time something was done. How can sponsors like Maples continue to support a regime surrounded by scandal at every corner both international and domestic? Why are volunteers on CIFA fighting so hard to resist change and greater transparency?

    • Anonymous says:

      I am not sure volunteers are fighting to resist change, is more they are unable to do anything about about it, volunteer are being held hostage by the clubs representatives who may benefit from the current administration, some representatives may have received free tickets to international football events including the WC or maybe even ride in the president private jet and other perks? The issue of volunteering in sports and football in particular is strange one, most people do it because they love the game and their children do also the, they want to be a part of it, the administrators from FIFA down to CIFA know this and they take advantage of it. How else do you explain the fact that most people working at WC’s are volunteers and FIFA walks away with $2 BILLION in profits?
      I have spoken to volunteers working with the national teams programs, male and female, they have told me that they received a stipend of CI$ 200.00 a MONTH to assist with the program, sometimes they work 60-70 hours or more for the month and even take time off from work to travel with the teams, however, sometimes they have to wait months before CIFA issue any disbursements?

    • Anonymous says:

      Doesn’t Mr Blake work in finance at Maples? (He used to be their financial controller?)

    • Anonymous says:

      They are not really “volunteers” that’s why they are resisting.

  32. Anonymous says:

    Nice to see some action taken

  33. Anonymous says:

    Dear CIFA Exco

    Please take the hint step down now if you care anything about the sport clubs and players who make it all possible. Your time is up. Time for a refresh and to throw out the rubbish

  34. Anonymous says:

    Well done Ozzie. The right move.

    Now what CIFA?

    How are any other sponsors going to step up, with CIG making its opinion very clearly known?

    Take the hint.

    Your….time…is…up.

  35. Anonymous says:

    Wow Ozzie? Well played, but are you suggesting there may be corruption? I am shocked! Our hearts are pure and our hands are clean!

    • Anonymous says:

      I would definitely like to see Sharon Roulstone as FIFA President. I have known her since school days and she is Honest and has a passion for football. As a woman she WILL get the job done with integrity and Fair Play for all. It is time for change I agree and “Thanks” to the Executives’ for their hard work done in the past because they didn’t all get paid and they volunteered for years.

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