General Secretary of the Guyana Football Federation (GFF) Noel Adonis says that local officials met with investigators in the FIFA cash-for-votes probe in The Bahamas but he was not at liberty to disclose what was discussed.
In a previous article, this newspaper had stated that the local federation would not have been meeting with investigators.
Adonis said on Wednesday that the scandal did not augur well for the image of the sport in the Caribbean. And while Guyana was not offered or did not receive money from Asian Football Chief Mohamed Bin Hammam, according to Adonis, the Caribbean region will have to wait and see what comes out in the report by the world governing body regarding the scandal.
Adonis hopes that whatever recommendations are made in the report by Robert Torres, the judge who is heading the ethics committee probe, is in the best interest of football in the region.
Adonis, speaking briefly, said that he was in no position to disclose what was discussed during the meeting with former FBI director Louis Freeh. The investigation was concluded last week (see other story below) and Adonis said that he has not heard or seen anything of the report.
A total of one million US dollars is alleged to have been paid out by Bin Hammam at a Trinidad meeting of Caribbean football associations.
In the investigation it was uncovered that Bin Hammam arranged for cash to be offered to the 25-member Caribbean Football Union (CFU) representatives at the May 10-11 meeting in Trinidad during his presidential campaign. Further, Stabroek Sport learnt from a source that nine associations told investigators that they were offered or accepted cash gifts of US$40,000 at the special meeting before the FIFA elections.
Stabroek Sport also learnt that the report from the investigation was sent to Bin Hammam, 62, ahead of a hearing in Zurich on July 22-23. If Bin Hammam is guilty of the charge of bribery he faces a life ban. He had always maintained that he did nothing wrong.
Meanwhile, five other countries – Puerto Rico, Suriname, Grenada, Aruba and Curacao – have told investigators that they were offered or given money. The money was in brown envelopes, corroborating claims made by The Bahamas, Bermuda, the Cayman Islands and the Turks & Caicos Islands that then CFU president Austin ‘Jack’ Warner told the CFU delegates on May 11 that the money had been provided by Bin Hammam.
On the other hand 12 associations in the Caribbean did not meet the investigators. Warner did not cooperate with investigators although he had promised to when he resigned. It is now likely that FIFA’s ethics committee will open investigations into the actions of these associations.
The ethics committee will also hear the cases of Debbie Minguell and Jason Sylvester, two CFU officials alleged to have been involved in making the payments.
When Stabroek Sport attempted to get a comment from GFF president and acting CFU vice president Colin Klass the newspaper was told that he is out of the country.