Cayman CONCACAF offices shuttered

The CONCACAF offices on the second and third floors of the George Town Financial Centre building were closed on Feb. 1, according to a remaining staffer.
The CONCACAF offices on the second and third floors of the George Town Financial Centre building were closed on Feb. 1, according to a remaining staffer.

The Cayman Islands CONCACAF president’s offices in George Town closed down on Feb. 1, the Cayman Compass learned this week.

Furniture was being moved out, and the remaining staffer said Monday that she was trying to arrange the sale of some of it.

Operations at the office, on the second and third floors of the George Town Financial Centre (formerly the Admiral Financial Centre), had been slowly scaled back since the May 2015 arrest of then-CONCACAF president Jeffrey Webb in connection with the FIFA racketeering and bribery investigation in the U.S. It is believed that CONCACAF has a lease agreement at the building through December 2017.

CONCACAF representatives in Miami were contacted Monday for comment. They confirmed that the former president’s office had been closed, but said a “small presence” would be maintained in Cayman.

“CONCACAF’s operations in the Cayman Islands have been restructured as a result of the closure of the former President’s office,” read the statement from CONCACAF Deputy General Secretary Jurgen Mainka. “However, the confederation still maintains a small presence focusing on specific pan-regional functions, such as broadcasting, tournament execution, member services, and press operations.”

CONCACAF, FIFA’s regional governing body for the Caribbean, North and Central America, has seen its last three presidents – Webb, Jack Warner of Trinidad and Alfredo Hawit of Honduras – arrested and charged in connection with the FIFA probe. Webb pleaded guilty in November to seven counts in the U.S. indictment, including racketeering, money laundering conspiracy and wire fraud conspiracy. Hawit was extradited to the U.S. and was recently released on bond. Warner is fighting extradition from Trinidad.

The agency said late last year, following Hawit’s Dec. 3 arrest in Switzerland, that it would leave the president’s post vacant for the time being and await new internal elections in May 2016 prior to selecting anyone to run the agency.

Following dozens of arrests and criminal charges in the probe of world football’s governing organization, CONCACAF appears to have lost significant funding from FIFA, which announced in early February it put funding for two of its confederations in the Americas – CONCACAF and CONMEBOL – on hold “until further notice.”

CONMEBOL President Juan Angel Napout was also arrested with Hawit in Switzerland on Dec. 3. In addition, CONMEBOL’s past two presidents were also charged in the U.S. investigation of FIFA.

Reuters news service reported at the time 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. It was not known whether the Cayman Islands Football Association would be directly affected by the funding cut.

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