CIFA ousts Webb and blasts minister

| 08/12/2015 | 62 Comments
Cayman News Service

CIFA headquarters, Grand Cayman

(CNS): The Cayman Islands Football Association has formally ousted Jeffrey Webb from his position as president but the acting CIFA president, Bruce Blake, will remain at the helm until elections take place at a planned congress next year. CIFA’s Executive Committee has also hit out at the sports minister, who has expressed concerns about the lack of transparency regarding the accounts. Denying that financial statements have not been supplied, they made it clear that they think government has no business interfering with CIFA’s leadership elections.

Sports Minister Osbourne Bodden has hit back, pointing to the unanswered questions surrounding massive cash donations from FIFA and the failure to explain the irregularities in the sports association’s books. Given the circumstances, the minister said, he has every right to withhold government cash and call for answers.

Following the guilty plea by Webb last week in the US for fraud and money laundering, CIFA’s Executive Committee held an emergency meeting Monday and in a release Tuesday they issued a release to say that he had been removed as president, though little else appears to have changed.

“It has been determined that he is not fit for office of president of CIFA and as such his position as president of CIFA is officially vacated,” the association’s officials said in the release. “Elections will be held at the earliest congress in 2016 for the president’s position, along with any other positions that are vacant. Although not yet formally notified, CIFA expects that FIFA and CONCACAF will follow suit in due course.”

However, the association appeared more concerned about the issues that have been raised by the sports minister than the conviction of Webb for racketeering, although Minister Bodden’s sentiments about the management of the association and serious questions about their financial statements have been broadly echoed in the wider community. Rather than addressing the many questions surrounding how cash from FIFA, government and donations has been managed or the leadership controversies, the association has gone on the attack.

“CIFA is appalled by Minister Osbourne Bodden’s statements,” the committee said.

Bodden, who has pulled around $128,000 of government funding from CIFA because of the concerns, has said he wants to see a full forensic audit of the association’s books to determine exactly how it has spent its money, including FIFA grants.

“CIFA has consistently provided annual audited financial statements to his ministry over the years,” CIFA officials maintained, saying that those audited financial statements were already in the ministry’s possession. The release claimed that Bodden’s comments were “erroneous and misleading” and “not in the best interest of football”.

The committee said it would deliver copies of the annual reports, which include audited financial statements from 2001 to present, to the ministry today.

The officials said they were still awaiting outstanding agreed funding from 2014/2015, which was already spent on domestic leagues and youth programmes, which were “now in jeopardy. Blaming the minister rather than the much bigger issues surrounding the association, the CIFA officials also took aim at Bodden’s comments that government would not support the association until it demonstrated it had cleaned up its act and elected new leaders.

“Any interference with a democratic election process demonstrates a lack of understanding of constitutional law and is unwarranted,” CIFA stated in response. “The minister cannot dictate to any national association who should or should not serve on its executive committee by interfering in an election process, which is determined by its membership.

“CIFA is guided by its constitution, and individuals who have expressed strong opinions in the press who somehow feel aggrieved should accept that they did not have the constitutional support to run for office and are only damaging football in our country by their continued negative remarks of Cayman football.”

A meeting has been requested with the minister, the officials said, so that they can address concerns and outline the reforms that they claimed have been put in place to get back the annual grant.

However, in an emailed response Tuesday the sports minister took the CIFA committee to task, pointing out that he was seeking a forensic audit to show exactly where the US$2.2m received from FIFA for infrastructure development had been spent. He accepted that CIFA sent statements to support the government funding but said there were far wider issues to be addressed.

“It is disingenuous for CIFA to blame their alleged problems with their youth programmes on government’s lack of funding. CIFA has the power to regain the government’s support by providing the audited financials for up to at least December 2014 and embarking on a forensic audit of its operations,” he said. “It is important that the public understands that CIFA continues to enjoy the free use of all government facilities for its training and leagues, and that government continues to support various youth football development programmes and tournaments directly.”

Bodden said that while government should not interfere in how sporting associations conduct their everyday operations, as minister of sports he was accountable for the way government cash under his remit was spent.

“When we see circumstances at play such as has been alleged with CIFA in relation to FIFA funding and other entities, information being reported on from the HSA trial re AIS and the CarePay contract and the inability of auditors to sign off on the 2014 financials, I have every right to call for an explanation and to withhold public funds until answers and transparency of activities are forthcoming,” the minister stated.

Bodden said it made no sense for him to meet with CIFA officials until they provided answers to many of the questions. “I trust that CIFA will gets its house in order quickly,” he said, adding that he was at least happy to hear that the presidency issue will be resolved in 2016.

However, CIFA officials claimed that they have made reforms to “increase transparency and good governance”. They said an independent, internal audit and compliance committee as well as a finance committee has been established and CIFA has outsourced the accounting and financial statement production process to add “an additional level of independence supporting our initiatives of good governance”.

In the only reference to the corruption probe currently underway, the committee said, “CIFA also continues to be fully cooperative with local authorities.”

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Comments (62)

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  1. Hot baller says:

    Renard??? Are you kidding me? As a youngster growing up and playing in the CIFA league I remember Renard coaching Cnb, he disappeared for more than 20 years only to resurface in the last couple of years when JW appointed him as director of national teams, by virtue of being appointed by JW I’m assuming that Renard agreed with hiw JW was running CIFA. What this current situation reminds me of is when parents (JW) leave home (cifa) the kids (Bruce Blake & Renard moxan) wants to be in charge of the house til “daddy” gets home.

  2. I TOTALLY agree Mr Minister. Yes they should be accountable before handing over anymore of the TAXPAYERS money . It is not the Govt Money. It is on the backs of the hardworking people . So hold your ground Mr Bodden. No honey if they cannot show the money

  3. Rachael says:

    Why renard? When he was running his various businesses, I don’t recall him ever donating $1 to local program or child. Why not elect, lee Ramon, Anthony Ramon, gilley Seymour or coach hoota who have given there hold life to local football?

    • Anonymous says:

      are you serious? what a complete disaster that would be.

      PS. There hold life?

    • Anonymous says:

      Why not Renard? To the best of my knowledge Renard has always been involved in the game at some level, I do recall seeing him coaching at the pee wee games for years. Maybe he was busy running his companies to devote more time to the game in the recent past,, however it appears as if he now has the time and should have corporate contacts to assist with the development of the local game.
      You asked why not elect Lee, Anthony, Gillie or Huta, please, these people are a part of the problem,(remember Anthony was a VP of CIFA for years under JW), did any of them had the courage to stand up to the current CIFA administration? No.
      Do you ask yourself, why they did not see it necessary to challenged JW’s CIFA?
      Renard, was the only who show character to challenge CIFA in the election, he was not allow to take part but he had the courage to do so.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Where is Mark Scotland standing in all of this?

  5. Anonymous says:

    I was willing to give BB the benefit of the doubt and time to clean things up at CIFA before I criticized him too heavily. But this is ridiculous. He truly is living on a different planet if he thinks these excuses have any weight with the Cayman public.

  6. Anonymous says:

    CIFA and Blake seem to have missed the cardinal point that there is no law which says Government must fund any particular sports organization. Spending is entirely in the discretion of Cabinet as advised by the Minister. Ozzie is absolutely right to withhold any form of payment until there is complete accountability of what has been spent, a new and untainted slate of directors has been appointed, a formula for absolute transparency going forward and a president nominated by Government (step forward Renard) has been appointed. If this is not forthcoming by the end of the year let’s cut this Gordian knot once and for all. Government should advise the football world that the existing CIFA has no further right to represent the Cayman Islands and a new organization called [new name] has been formed for the purpose with the support and under the supervision of the Cayman Islands Government.

  7. Anonymous says:

    so BB at first says ‘we don’t need CIG money, we are just fine’ and then says we are outraged and the ‘youth will suffer because of withholding CIG funds’. Pathetic.

  8. Geese says:

    CIG needs to take away their Non-Profit Status and then use the law to force an audit for Money Laundering/ Financial Crimes. Problem solved, cut off the arm and the necessary demise will follow. This action would buy my vote any day of the week!

  9. Anonymous says:

    Who is the “Caymanian Lawyer” that is mentioned in the FBI and IRS indictments on Jeff Webb and others ?

  10. Just Asking says:

    The money being spent on basically, what is an amateur grade league, is unbelievable.
    Fair enough, kids need to get a chance, but this type of spending is crazy.
    When I played in the league 20 years ago, it was a better standard (not because of me, I may add), and no where near this kind of money was used.
    CIFA is receiving money from all the clubs, for entry fees, red cards, all types of expenses, add in Govt money over the past years, plus FIFA funding. Questions need to be answered.
    I agree with Ozzie on this one.

    • Anonymous says:

      Look, I used to play football in Cayman 20 years ago also, maybe the game was not necessarily better,however used to be played under different circumstances.
      Our league is not even at an amateur level now, it is no more than a bunch of guys getting together for a kick about on Sunday evening. This is the only place where the Sunday morning bar league is more popular than the CIFA sanctioned premier league, some of the players play in the both leagues. If you look at the limited media coverage of the leagues you will see more coverage for the bar league! What has CIFA done about this? Nothing, they have no interest in the development of the game. Where do the member clubs stand on this?

  11. Anonymous says:

    Presumably, since he was not banned from participation, Jeff will be eligible to run for President if the CIFA elections are not held for another six months?

  12. Anonymous says:

    What an arrogance by BB and the CIFA ExCo, Do they really believe that this smoke screen will be enough to distract the attention at this point in time?
    All they have to do is present an accurate account of funds received by CIFA and the distribution of the same, the public, the member clubs, parents, coaches and the many other volunteering personnel have a right to know. Football is a matter of public interest and can not continued to be treated as belonging to small group of self interest arrogant people. If the current CIFA ExCo is protecting other people and are not willing to produce these accounts they simply have to be removed by the membership.

    By the way, I see CIFA has games scheduled this weekend for CIFA Presidents Cup and they have no president!!!

  13. Anonymous says:

    Minister Bodden is correct on his stance about Government funding for CIFA under the current dubious circumstances which surround it. He should take the same stand regarding Government funding of RCIPS for similar reasons. Cabinet is the holder of RCIPS’ purse strings!

  14. Anonymous says:

    The Blatter-voting junket-monkeys are scared.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Oz – time to pull out that Cow Cod again and run them all from any Government property. Their arrogance is astounding. Their example to Cayman’s youth, disgusting. Create a CCF – Confederation of Caymanian Football. Stick Renard in charge. Limit use of Government facilities to persons who subscribe to it, and leave CIFA. Prohibit membership in CCF to active participants in CIFA . Done! Show these bastards and the public who is really in charge.

  16. Mitchell says:

    If the sports minister wants to distance his office from cifa what he also needs to do is to not allow cifa to use government facilities such as the fields shut cifa down for good

  17. Anonymous says:

    CIFA should be abandoned by CIG andshut down with a new organization formed. If not “CIFA” will be a lasting scar for all in Cayman and the world to point too. The currant vice president needs to go…his arrogance is starting to shine like Webb’s did once.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Well didn’t expect much else from CIFA but just to be clear, if there is suspicion of corruption, wrong doing and money laundering, the government has every right to get involved as they are supposed to represent the people of this country, and the people of this country do not want the name of the Cayman Islands to be dragged through the mud just so that a bunch of self inflated buffoons can act and live hoity-toity

    • Anonymous says:

      Why wouldn’t there be suspicions of corruption, they were all UDP right…?

      • Anonymous says:

        Anon at 8:21 you got it. CIFA/CONCACAF = UDP. Scotland, Glidden, Campbells, etc etc. The only thing is, Moxam stood for and alongside the UDP at the last election. Frying pan/fire ?

      • Anonymous says:

        I suppose a PPM committee would have spent all the cash on accountancy reports, recommended that watch shops be built on the touch line of every pitch and banned players hugging after a goal as an abomination.

  19. Anonymous says:

    I don’t think Bruce gets the big picture. You want CIG funding, you jump through the hoops. Does Bruce even get that practically all Cayman views CIFA as tainted and nothing less than full transparency will correct that? I doubt it. Grandstanding and telling CIG not to interfere shows no common sense at all. Maybe the police should interfere? Kind of strange they have not so far! Interests upon high? In any case sad to say Bruce has demonstrated he is not the leader CIFA needs.

    • SSM345 says:

      Everybody associated with Webb should be ousted from CIFA, including Blake, end of story. Dissolve CIFA and form a new regulatory body for football.

    • Anonymous says:

      Bruce gets the big picture, it’s just that his big picture is different from everyone else. He has the right combination of arrogance and ignorance to be a FIFA Vice President.

  20. Anonymous says:

    The arrogant contempt exhibited by CIFA since the scandal broke has does nothing to instill any confidence in the existing administrators. Did CIFA vote for Blatter? Of course it did, but the leadership were too cowardly to say so. Contempt. Did the committee accept the arguments for a possible new way forward in the elections? No, technicalities were used to keep the old guard in power. Contempt. Administrators of CIFA are less important than the sport and the kids that play the game. A new broom is needed and the latest statement show that the egos of the existing committee are more important to them than the local game. Contempt. CIFA should completely replace the board and appoint an independent accountant or attorney to inspect the books and records with 100% access to information. Chances of the that happening? About the same as the Cayman Islands qualifying for the World Cup Finals.

  21. Anonymous says:

    If it took them this long to decide that he was not fit to be president, I will go on record to say there will be peace in the Middle East before they find where all of the money went.

  22. Gray matter says:

    Oh dear, I only hope you have informed him of your decision and he is not to highly disappointed.

  23. Anonymous says:

    NO ONE. BUT NO ONE should remain on the controlling executive that were part of the Webb dynasty that has corrupted Cayman Islands football. Of course he’s not fit to be president, he’s just pleaded guilty in one of the biggest world corruption trials ever. But what about hose accounts, the illegal payments, swimming pools and god knows what else. Minister Bodden, you are 100 percent right to take the approach and the fact they are outraged outrages me for their arrogance.

  24. Anonymous says:

    Mr. Minister, you cannot/should not be happy about the president issue to be resolved in 2016. This issue can not wait another minute. JW was arrested in May 2015, he surrendered to the US authorities shortly thereafter, by the time the “erliest” congress comes around next year, I am almost sure it would be well over a year since JW arrest . In the mean time millions of dollars of public, FIFA and other private funds go unccoumted for, some of which have been mention in the CW Carepay corruption case.
    Cifa claims that youth programmes will suffer due to lack of funds, however his administration allowed millions of dollars to be embezzled by the President. Action is required now, tomorrow to late.

    • Anonymous says:

      Bruce Blake told the country CIFA did not need government funding or does he forget? Unfortunately, every statement from Blake and the CIFA Executive is filled the typical arrogance and duplicitous rhetoric we have come to expect from CIFA. None are fit to hold office. All past and present members of the executive committee under Webb must be investigated by the ACC as all appear to have been complicit in the local actions involving CIFA that make the local organization look like a Jack Warner training camp for friends of the disgraced former President Jeff Webb.

      • Anonymous says:

        The problem is they are still under the illusion that they are above the Law…Blatter was quoted on a BBC program recently that he is is the only person in the World who can arrive in any country and be greeted by the head of that country without any immigration protocol…and that is the problem; their arrogance has grown and grown and they thought they were invincible…..Mr Blake needs to realise that time has ended for FIFA and the trickle down of the privilege they have experienced is at an end….or is ending…..or at least the rest of us can only hope…..

        • three sails bodden town , says:

          Cayman Islands will never be recognized in the football world ever again this islands is finish. No Jeffrey Webb no recognition. If it wasn’t for him no one would ever know about this little island in the football world. Say what you want about him. He did a lot of good for this little rock.

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