Facing corruption allegations and suspended from “football-related activities” by world governing body FIFA, Jeffrey Webb has been replaced “on a provisional basis” as president of the Cayman Islands Football Association, a position he has held for 24 years.
First Vice President Bruce Blake has taken over as acting president of the organization.
The announcement, the first public comment from anyone involved with Cayman football since Webb was arrested in Switzerland a week ago, followed an emergency meeting of the association’s executive committee on Monday night.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to Jeffrey and his family at this difficult time,” the association said in a short statement.
The decision coincided with the shock announcement Tuesday from world football boss Sepp Blatter that he would resign as FIFA president, just days after he had been re-elected.
CIFA said in a statement that it was “concerned and disappointed” to learn of Webb’s arrest but declined to comment on the allegations, saying the presumption of innocence until proven guilty “must prevail.”
CIFA has also declined to comment on what, if anything, other Cayman officials knew about the deals detailed in the indictment.
Webb is one of 14 current and former FIFA officials, businessmen and sports marketing executives accused of a bribery and corruption racket connected to television rights for international football tournaments.
Webb, once tipped by Blatter himself as a potential successor, was “provisionally banned” from football-related activities by FIFA’s ethics committee. He was “provisionally dismissed” as president of CONCACAF, the governing body for football in North and Central America and the Caribbean, losing his position as vice president of FIFA as a consequence.
CIFA’s statement continued, “As a result of the decision of the FIFA Ethics Committee on 27 May to provisionally ban Jeffrey Webb from carrying out any football-related activities on a national and international level, the CIFA Executive Committee took the decision to appoint Bruce Blake as acting president on a provisional basis, pending the outcome of any on-going investigation by the FIFA Ethics Committee.”
Webb was first elected as resident of CIFA in 1991 and has been consistently re-elected since then. He is next up for re-election in 2017.
Whether he returns to the role will depend on the outcome of the FIFA Ethics Committee probe as well as the criminal prosecution.
CIFA’s statement added that the events of the past week would not prevent it from proceeding with events planned for the coming months, including the CONCACAF Boys Under-15 championships – a 37-team event also featuring Brazil and England, that is expected to be the biggest sporting event Cayman has hosted.
The statement said, “We are focused on hosting the CONCACAF Boys Under-15 Championship in August of this year, the Men’s Olympic qualifying in Haiti this month and our end of season awards ceremony on 26 June 2015, in addition to the completion of the artificial turf field at the Centre of Excellence.
“CIFA recognises the importance of football within our community and will continue to support efforts to provide opportunities for local athletes.”