CONCACAF ‘contributions’ from FIFA on hold

FIFA, world football’s governing body, announced this week that it has put funding on hold “until further notice” for two of its confederations in the Americas – including one in the Caribbean and Central America.

Statements released in the international press late Monday noted FIFA’s confirmation that contributions toward CONCACAF, FIFA’s North and Central American and Caribbean region, and CONMEBOL, its South American region, had been held “in light of current proceedings involving individuals related to CONMEBOL and CONCACAF.”

Reuters news service reported that CONCACAF sources indicated the agency had not received US$10 million in FIFA payments, some of which was related to FIFA’s financial assistance program. Some funds from the global financial assistance program are received by Caribbean national football organizations, including the Cayman Islands. However, it was not known by press time Tuesday whether the Cayman Islands Football Association would be directly affected by the funding cut.

CIFA’s funding from local government has already been cut in light of a number of financial issues that arose last year, including the arrest of the organization’s former president, Jeffrey Webb, on U.S. federal racketeering and bribery charges.

CONCACAF responded to the FIFA statement Monday by indicating it was working to resolve the issue “in a timely manner” by updating its administrative and compliance reporting procedures.

The past three CONCACAF presidents, Jack Warner, Webb and Alfredo Hawit were indicted in connection with the burgeoning U.S. probe into world football. Webb pleaded guilty in November to seven counts in the U.S. indictment.

Hawit was arrested in December, along with CONMEBOL President Juan Angel Napout, in Switzerland. Both men are accused of taking part in a sweeping US$200 million scheme that American prosecutors said involved bribes paid by sports marketing companies to high-ranking FIFA officials in exchange for lucrative contracts for the commercial rights to football tournaments. On Monday, a U.S. judge agreed to Hawit’s release on bond pending trial.