Ramoon promises change as new CIFA chief

| 28/05/2016 | 35 Comments
Cayman News Service

Lee Ramoon, President Cayman Islands Football Association

(CNS): Lee Ramoon has been elected as the new CIFA president and has promised to regain the trust of the members, sponsors, the public and government, but he said it would take time to turn the association around. “Everyone wants to see change and it is about to happen, but it will be baby steps,” he told the press in the wake of Saturday’s congress and his election to office. Ramoon said he was thankful to the membership for placing their trust in him to tackle the challenges ahead for the cash-strapped association.

The Cayman Islands Football Association (CIFA) has been mired in controversy since the arrest of former president Jeffrey Webb in the FIFA scandal and the revelations during the recent corruption trial of former treasurer, Canover Watson.

Ramoon acknowledged the problems and challenges ahead but said he would be focusing on transparency and rebuilding the trust lost by the scandals. He said that the CIFA treasurer had given the membership a detailed review of what was happening and that FIFA had agreed to give CIFA emergency funding to keep the national teams going.

Facing a real struggle for cash, Ramoon said he was already talking to government about the return of the annual grant. However, Sports Minister Osbourne Bodden has previously made it clear that he will not agree to reinstate the grant until the entire executive changes and all of the individuals associated with the previous regime resign.

Cayman News Service

Arrmando Ebanks, Treasurer Cayman Islands Football Association

“I understand his point of view but it is difficult to just get rid of the members that the minister is alluding to, but we will have another congress in August and we will look at this between now and then,” Ramoon said, as he explained that he would be discussing the future executive line-up with members and planned to have more talks with Minister Bodden.

In addition to the vote for the new president, members elected Wendy Fisher as the deputy general secretary. The congress also included a presentation from the treasurer, Armando Ebanks, who told the media that CIFA was in an exceptionally challenging position when it came to cash.

He said that they had been able to identify that money had gone missing and the association was working with FIFA, which is conducting a forensic audit on all transactions to see if any other funds have been misappropriate. But with government freezing its grant of $127,000, CONCACAF stopping its $100,000 funding and FIFA withdrawing its annual $250,000 grant as well, without match revenue the national game is in serious trouble. Down around half a million dollars a year, the lack of public trust is also hampering efforts to raise private sector funding.

He said the emergency FIFA cash would help to cover the very basics but CIFA was in a difficult place. “It is crucial that we get back the government funding,” he said, as he pointed to the problems CIFA faced as a result of the cash being cut.

Ebanks said he too was committed to change and the financial functions of the treasure’s office were being separated and an independent outside accountant had been taken on to ensure that it is no longer just one person dealing with the money. Pointing to more checks and balances, he echoed Ramoon’s comments about the need for more transparency across the executive. The treasurer also confirmed that CIFA will be holding another meeting before the August congress with the clubs to talk more about the financial situation.

CONCACAF’s director of legal affairs, Marco Leal, also attended the election congress to oversee the process and he commended CIFA for executing a clean and fair election. He said he could not comment on the financial situation because of the ongoing investigations. Although he was pleased with how the election had gone, he warned that the new president had many challenges ahead of him to rebuild trust.

Ramoon, who has been elected to serve the remaining 15 months of the current presidential term, beat out Alfredo Whittaker, the only other contender for the top job, which had been temporarily held by Bruce Blake, who is vice president, who acted as president in the wake of Webb’s arrest in May 2015 in Switzerland, when the FIFA scandal was finally exposed.

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Category: Local News

Comments (35)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    If anyone has any doubts of the challenge facing Mr. Ramoon please visit today’s (Jun 01, 2016) Guardian Newspaper article about Mr. Jeff Webb and his cohorts, locally and internationally.




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  2. Anonymous says:

    Lee has a major problem here. One has to look at the state of GT Sports Club for the last number of years. GT Sports Club is essentially run by Lee and his family, It appears as if they will go down the the First Division this year. When you go to watch the games and GTSC is playing is embarrassing, hopefully he manage to improve at CIFA. Also, his association with Jeff can not be underestimated, we all remember the party Jeff threw for Lee a few years ago to name him Cayman best player, Romario and helicopter landing at the Truman Bodden Sports Centre.




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  3. Anonymous says:

    Lee is a great football player and a fantastic human being, but instead of meeting with our Sports Minister and asking for our money, he should concentrate on CONCACAF and FIFA. Until they are satisfied that all is in order with CIFA and that funding can be restored, then no money should be forthcoming from us. In fact, we should hold CIFA to a higher standard than CONCACAF and FIFA have done, given how poor their oversight was in the past.




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    • Anonymous says:

      you can only do so much without funding but it least he is given back! Lee is smart and economist working with the Government Treasury Dept he will do great job. I am proud to call him a friend and the only CIFA president that has gotten down to grass roots and plays football and gives back to the youth. He trains 3-5 fays a week with these kids besides working and caring for his family. My son plays football and in the under 14 tournament coming up and I am happy to see there may be a future for him with someone like Lee in charge of CIFA
      .




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  4. r says:

    Awe thats great news for a change! lol
    Lee was happy to read this and know you will give 110%




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  5. Anonymous says:

    Lee is indeed a great guy but what is he doing these days? He used to work for Government-maybe still does- and was given a whole ton of money by government (like Marco Archer when he was a civil servant) to go abroad and get degrees (Don’t believe the crap from Ezzard, Arden and them about no support for Caymanians). But I don’t hear his name anymore. I guess if he got himself elected as an MLA we would hear more about him.




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  6. Anonymous says:

    Lee Ramoon have some big shoes to fill. CIFA will never be recognized in the football world. again. CIFA is finished done no coming back. what is CIFA?? parents please switch
    your sons and grandsons to Ruby we are going to the OLYMPICS!! soon …where CIFA has never gone before. Rugby Lover!!




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  7. Anonymous says:

    It was indeed refreshing to read about Mr. Lee Ramoon being elected to president of CIFA.
    Seems to me like a natural choice. I am not a football player, just a football fan who truly enjoy watching the game being played. I have always admired his passion for the sport and what I do know about Mr. Ramoon is that he is very humble, honest and pleasant to talk to.
    Let’s give him a chance and be thankful that he is willing to tackle this important task of trying to restore dignity to the sport. It can be done, but it will take time. I believe that Mr. Ramoon will do everything in his power to make us all proud. He is just that type of guy. I personally wish him well.




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  8. Anonymous says:

    all remaining member that worked with or under Webb must go before any funding is released.




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    • Anonymous says:

      Yes, it’s difficult to reconcile what the public already knows is necessary with this “baby steps” talk. CIFA needs full audit and they need to initiate action to recover what we already know are sizable 6 and 7 figure line items of misappropriated, stolen, or diverted funds. That would be a good first “baby step”.




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  9. Anonymous says:

    All previous members of FIFA need to be replaced before any level of confidence can begin.




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  10. Anonymous says:

    Yawn. Such a boring game anyway.
    Play real sport like rugby.




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  11. SKEPTICAL says:

    Where are the audited financial statements for at least the past five years?




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    • Anonymous says:

      Until they can produce a clean set of accounts, that cloud will continue to hang, the fact that they haven’t been able to do that after all these months is very telling




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    • Chris Johnson says:

      Interest point. The articles of association call for audited accounts to be presented at the annual general meeting. Do the clubs not read the constitution of CIFA. Real Mickey Mouse stuff.




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      • Anonymous says:

        Does the lack of audited accounts mean that CIFA is not properly constituted as a Cayman Islands entity?




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        • Chris Johnson says:

          No it just means that they are in breach of the Articles of Association. As there is not transparency and no website the public have no idea what is taking place. As to baby steps CIFA having known about the tangled Webb for a year need to take giant steps. With the current executive committee and several of the members ‘tainted’ nothing will happen. Bringing in FIFA who are very much part of the CIFA fraud is a complete and utter waste of time and constitutes a huge conflict of interest. No surprises here conflicts abound in CIFA. Just ask yourself how may CIFA contracts went out to bid.Perhaps a CIFA spokesperson can address my queries and of course give us his name.




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  12. Just saying says:

    Lee is a great guy. He came from humble beginnings and is to be admired for his stance in life. It just goes to show that one can choose to be what one wants to be regardless of ones background. I believe Lee will make a difference and make us all proud. Unfortunately, Jeff was in it to get all he could for himself, so sad. Congrats Lee. Am personally looking forward to a positive future for the sport and our young people.




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  13. Sharkey says:

    Good luck Mr Ramoon , stay on the field level with the football players, and keep all the
    arrested ××××× of the field and out of the club house , and remember what they did that now makes your job much harder and you will turn it around. But it’s a big job .




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  14. Sepp Blatter-Ebanks says:

    Bruce Flake must go now.

    The remaining committee members who served under Jeff Webb must all be investigated for their roles and negligence as the Trustees of the sport in the Cayman Islands. They have failed the footballing community and allowed funds to be used for personal gain for over a decade.




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    • Chris Johnson says:

      Check my viewpoint article of September ninth. This just goes on and on. The kids are the real loses here. So sad.




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  15. Anonymous says:

    Well done Lee. I truely hope you can can actually separate yourself from the previous regime. Now lets the change come, sooner than later. All your words will ring hallow as long as Jeff group remain in place, the Ministeri of sports is 100% correct to withhold the funding until they are gone, your first job will be to make all these previous members understands that they are damaging the Sport and that they must resign. It has been over twenty years of corruption, our children have already paid a heavy price.




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