Maples continues CIFA funding, confirms Blake resignation

Law firm Maples and Calder will continue its sponsorship of grass roots football in the Cayman Islands despite recent controversies surrounding the game’s local governing body. 

Maples confirmed late last week that Bruce Blake, the acting head of the Cayman Islands Football Association, had resigned from his job as an associate in its finance group, after 17 years with the firm. 

Maples said in a statement that Mr. Blake had decided to focus his energies on his role with the football association. Mr. Blake did not respond to calls from the Cayman Compass last week. 

A spokesman for the firm confirmed that it would maintain its $100,000 annual sponsorship of local football. 

He said, “As the title sponsor of the CIFA Maples Grassroots Programme, Maples and Calder will continue to promote initiatives that allow the young citizens of the Cayman Islands to play football, which fosters discipline, teamwork, camaraderie, as well as the ancillary benefit of helping working families with young children manage in the after-school and weekend sessions. 

“We believe it to be a well-run and successful program and expect to see it develop further over the next year.” 

Government pulled its $130,000 annual funding to the football association last month, citing concerns about the election process for the leadership of the association. In a separate development, CIFA’s accounts were later referred to the Anti-Corruption Commission. 

The association’s suspended president Jeffrey Webb is facing multiple corruption charges in New York, while Webb and former CIFA treasurer Canover Watson have both been charged in a separate local investigation into Health Services Authority contracts. 

The spokesman for Maples acknowledged the allegations and investigations concerning CONCACAF had thrown Cayman into the international media spotlight. He added that Cayman’s reputation as a “stable and robust jurisdiction” remained intact. 

“We do not think the reputation of the whole jurisdiction should be questioned simply as a result of allegations made in respect of the actions of certain individuals,” he said. 

Maples confirmed that Mr. Blake had stepped down from his role on Aug. 28, the day before he was re-elected unopposed as first vice president and acting leader of the football association. In a statement to the Compass, the firm said Mr. Blake had indicated he wished to focus his energies on CIFA. 

“Bruce has been involved with the sport long before he joined our firm in 1998 and has continued to play an integral part in its development over the years, both locally and internationally. Bruce’s many years of service and hard work are appreciated and, while his departure is a loss to the firm, we are supportive of Bruce’s decision and appreciate his desire to focus his energy on developing the sport. We wish him every success in his future endeavours.”

For the Cayman Compass’s full FIFA coverage, visit the Compass Data Desk.

Mr. Blake
Mr. Blake