BRIDGETOWN, (Reuters) – Lisle Austin, the ousted acting president of CONCACAF, said yesterday he had won a court ruling in the Bahamas allowing him to return to office.
In a strongly worded statement, Austin said he fully intended to resume control of the embattled federation and vowed to conduct a full audit of CONCACAF’S financial affairs.
He said the court had ruled the CONCACAF executive committee that suspended him and appointed Alfredo Hawit in his place, was in contempt of court because they ignored an earlier injunction.
“In its ruling yesterday (Wednesday) the Bahamian Court held that CONCACAF is in contempt of court as a result of its disobedience of the terms of the Order dated 10 June, 2011,” the statement read.
“As a result of the contempt, the Court did not allow CONCACAF to proceed with its hearing to discharge the order. Therefore, the injunction against CONCACAF remains in place.”
CONCACAF was not immediately available to comment.
Austin, as the most senior vice-president, became acting head of the confederation for North and Central America and the Caribbean when long-standing president Jack Warner was suspended by FIFA’s Ethics Committee after bribery allegations last month.
Warner, who denies any wrongdoing, later resigned but Austin, after trying to sack the regional body’s American general secretary Chuck Blazer, was himself suspended by a majority of the CONCACAF executive committee.
That suspension was extended to a bar from all international football activities by world governing body FIFA, who said he had broken their rules by going to the courts.
“The organization cannot interfere with my ability to perform my duties as Acting President. It is my intention to lead CONCACAF into an era of transparency, accountability and reform,” Austin said in the statement.
“I will begin to assume my responsibilities at CONCACAF’s offices in New York at a specified time in the very near future and will move forward with a forensic accounting review of all of CONCACAF’s financial operations for the past five years.”
Austin said the judge had ruled that he should have access to everything he needs to conduct the audit and he would consider more legal action if anyone opposed him.
“There are indications of questionable financial activities and CONCACAF – and association football – cannot advance until a full and transparent examination of the organization is complete,” he said.