New Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football President Jeffrey Webb held a meet and greet at the government building last Monday, alongside Minister of Sports Mark Scotland and new chairman of the Cayman Islands Football Association Bruce Blake.
When asked about taking over with the issues CONCACAF is dealing with, Webb had this to say, “I am fully aware of the issues and I’m going to approach them with honour, commitment and determination. We’re going to turn the corner. I’m going to make sure this organisation is treated with the prestige and honour that it deserves.”
Webb also commented on how he planned to shift the focus from the apparent bribe former president Jack Warner paid to football. “The main thing is development. Developing progressing players and developing elite players. Football is about the players, not about management. [One of my first acts as president] will be an executive retreat, we will meet and create strategies going forward. I’ve also set out to restructure the CONCACAF organisation.”
Webb was elected as the President of CONCACAF last month, he ran unopposed and took over for Warner, who had been president since 1990. Warner stepped down from the position when he was accused of offering $40,000 to Caribbean voters during Mohamed bin Hammam’s failed attempt to unseat Fédération Internationale de Football Association president Sepp Blatter.
During his acceptance speech in Budapest, Webb also touched on the controversy swirling around CONCACAF.
“Over the last year our mission and our vision have been blurred, from lawyers, to audit reports to compensation, we have deviated from our mission. I am here, we are here, because of our love for football, the passion for the game drives and motivates our every action.”
Webb is taking over the organisation at a very trying time, not only is there the investigation, but this is the first time a Caymanian has been appointed to this type of position. “I’m very honoured,” said Webb, “this is a tremendous opportunity for me and for the Cayman Islands. Football in Cayman will see an immediate rise.”
Webb seems to have an air of confidence, with an excitement and a readiness to take hold of the opportunity and change the football culture in Cayman. That fact is not lost on Minister Scotland.
“This is a tremendous achievement and Jeffrey has made Cayman a very proud nation.” Scotland said, “I must once again congratulate and commend him.”
Last year’s Beach Soccer World Cup was held in Ravenna, Italy, seeing Russia take home the gold medal. Grand Cayman would be an ideal destination for such an event, with Webb already saying that the famous Seven Mile Beach or perhaps Cayman Kai would be possible venues for pitches.
“This is an amazing opportunity for the Cayman Islands. The opportunity for sports tourism to significantly grow is now here, Cayman’s economy will see a significant boost. We can also start thinking about bringing events here, the beach World Cup springs to mind right away as a possibility.”
Webb’s election has given the Cayman Islands an amazing opportunity to put Cayman football on the map, bring major tournaments and teams here and pave the way for future international opportunities for Caymanians. Those points are not lost on Blake, who commented on the new-found importance of local football.
“Mr. Webb is only the fourth President of CONCACAF, this is a significant achievement,” Blake said, “It’s great to see such a small island achieve such a high position. This is a clear result of determination, perseverance and hard work.
“This is a prestigious position and a tremendous opportunity. Congratulations Jeffrey. With this election, the level of international respect for Caymanians has risen. The world now finally see’s that we’re competent enough to handle these sorts of high-ranked positions. This is a tremendous achievement.”
Grand Cayman should be proud of Webb, who has the focus of the rest of the football world, eager to see what his tenure as president has in store for the sport. Webb, who only recently returned to Cayman from Budapest, is simply relieved to be home.
“I’m happy to be home, it’s only been a week, but I’m happy to be home.”