BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, CMC – Caribbean Football Union vice-president Colin Klass says the regional governing body for the sport is resilient and will survive the recent turmoil springing from the cash-for-vote scandal.
He also said the contribution of ex-football strongman Jack Warner should not be diminished in any way as the former CFU president had put football development in the Caribbean on a sound footing.
“The resignation of Jack Austin Warner may give the perception that a chasm of uncertainty exists in the CFU. We know better! We know that as a resilient people we will ensure that the CFU soars once again like the proverbial phoenix from these ashes,” Klass said.
“Over the past month the Caribbean region, its sons and daughters have not only come under attack but we have all been subjected to character assassination and division within the Union.
“Many have been ostracized for believing in a brother of the Caribbean soil and standing firm on the belief that as a region we are one. If ever there was time for unity and collective responsibility – it is now. If not now then when; if not us then who?”
He continued: “The chaos over the last month has resulted in tremendous and seemingly irreparable damage; no one has won – the reputation of our game has suffered – the region has suffered.
“We must live in hope that the next generation will still look upon football as the beautiful – a game which despite all that has transpired can still be viewed as promoting fair play.”
Warner led the CFU for over three decades and was only earlier this year re-elected unopposed for another term.
However, he resigned as president on Monday amidst serious allegations that he and FIFA presidential candidate Mohamed bin Hammam offered cash bribes to CFU members in exchange for their votes at the FIFA election on June 1.
He also quit as a FIFA vice-president and president of CONCACAF, the continental governing body for football in North, Central America and the Caribbean.
“We cannot afford the confusion which has plagued the Union for the past month to cast a shadow of doubt on the legacy of this football stalwart,” Klass implored.
“We implore you to keep your eyes steadfast on the football vision that was collaboratively developed more than 30 years ago. This is the time for us to allow the potency of time protect the legacy and the memories of magnanimous contributions this man has made to the regional sporting landscape.
“Austin ‘Jack’ Warner is an indefatigable man who has served this sport for over 30 years of his life. The region and the world have benefited from his vision, his leadership and commitment to sustainable regional development through the sport of football.
“It would be invidious of us as a Union if we do not say unequivocally to the world that the region has benefited from this great man – his life, his work, his selflessness. The nations of the region today enjoy the fruits of his labour.”
As a result of Warner’s resignation, FIFA said they would discontinue their probe into the allegations.