Sports Minister Osbourne Bodden has called on the Cayman Islands Football Association to hold “free and fair elections” on its leadership.
Government could “re-evaluate” its support for the organization amid a continuing wrangle over the handling of nominations for its internal elections, Mr. Bodden warned.
Mr. Bodden told the Cayman Compass, “My feeling is that the CIFA Executive needs a refresh. It’s been entrenched too long and I believe they should welcome a free and fair elections and let the clubs decide.”
“I’m not happy with what I’ve heard and seen so far, and I’ve made this known publicly and to CIFA leader Bruce Blake,” he added.
His comments come after Renard Moxam’s attempt to run for election was blocked.
Mr. Moxam had announced his intention to challenge Mr. Blake for the first vice president’s role at CIFA’s annual congress at the Marriott resort later this month.
He said the association needed fresh leadership and a change of image to restore confidence and bring sponsors back to the game following the corruption allegations that led to the arrest of Jeffrey Webb, who served as CIFA president for the past 24 years.
Webb, who was also a FIFA vice president, was arrested along with other FIFA officials and sports marketing executives and is facing trial in New York on bribery charges. He has denied any wrongdoing.
Mr. Blake, acting president of the Cayman Islands Football Association, is one of three executives whose positions are up for election at the annual congress.
Mr. Moxam said Monday he was seeking legal advice after being told he would not be permitted to run in the election.
According to correspondence, he was initially told his nomination had been accepted, only to be informed after the deadline that his paperwork did not conform with the association’s rule book.
The dispute centers on differing interpretations of CIFA’s rules on how many clubs are required to support a candidate’s nomination before their application to stand for election is accepted.
Mr. Moxam argues that both he and Sharon Roulstone, whose nomination as assistant general secretary was rejected on similar grounds, were given legitimate expectation that they would be able to run when their nominations were initially accepted. He said they were not informed of any issue until well after the deadline had passed.
Mr. Bodden appeared to support that position on Thursday in his statement to the Compass calling for open elections.
He added that government, which gives around $130,000 every year in grant funding to CIFA, had other concerns, including perceptions of lack of progress on the Center of Excellence.
“I’ve also noted the recent rush to do things on the long awaited facility in Prospect that should have been done a long time ago,” Mr. Bodden said, “and I’m not pleased with this either.
“If their stance continues, myself and the government will reevaluate our support of the organization as it stands.”