The Cayman Islands Football Association will hold an election in May to find a successor to disgraced former president Jeffrey Webb.
Acting president Bruce Blake said this week he would not be running for the position and will remain as first vice president.
Renard Moxam, who unsuccessfully ran for Blake’s job last year, said he would stand in the election only if all the positions on the executive council, including Mr. Blake’s post, were put up for grabs.
He said the association needs to “clear the decks” and have a completely new leadership team, rather than just electing a new president to replace Webb.
Mr. Blake, in a statement this week, said CIFA would hold an “extraordinary congress” on May 28 to decide its new leader.
“CIFA will be advertising the elections throughout the Cayman Islands in order to allow as many persons as possible wishing to run for office the opportunity to do so,” he said.
Mr. Blake also revealed that CIFA had called in world governing body FIFA to conduct a forensic review of its records and assist with “recovering funds diverted from its accounts.”
The local association has been mired in controversy since the arrest of Webb in May last year on multiple corruption charges, as well as the arrest and later conviction of its long-time treasurer Canover Watson on separate corruption charges.
Webb, who has admitted being part of a global bribery scam involving the marketing and television rights for soccer events, is accused, among other crimes, of embezzling funds provided by FIFA to its member associations.
During Watson’s corruption trial in connection with the CarePay public hospital patient swipe-card system, it emerged that US$250,000 had been transferred from CIFA’s account to an account in the name of Black Holdings, a company run by CIFA Vice President Peter Campbell. On the same day, that cash was moved to an account controlled by Webb at Cayman’s Fidelity Bank and eventually went to help pay the mortgage on Webb’s Loganville, Georgia, home.
CIFA’s Centre of Excellence has also attracted scrutiny, including allegations in a U.S. lawsuit that $1.2 million in sponsorship funds for the facility were kickbacks to Webb.
Mr. Blake said FIFA lawyers and a forensic IT consultant spent two weeks at the association’s offices in Prospect last month as part of their review of past transactions. A visit by FIFA-appointed auditors is expected in the next six weeks. Mr. Blake has previously distanced himself from Watson and Webb, saying he was “sad and heartbroken” by allegations that money had been diverted from the game.
“FIFA and its attorneys have expressed appreciation to CIFA for its cooperation and have acknowledged CIFA’s significant administrative and financial control improvements since the new executive took office in August of 2015,” he said.
Mr. Moxam said he is not reassured by the fact that FIFA, still reeling from numerous corruption scandals of its own, is looking into CIFA’s books.
He said priority number one for a new administration should be to recover any funds stolen from the game under the previous leadership.
“If I’m elected, the first thing we will do is go after any money that was stolen from the association. We need to get that money back for the clubs and the players so we can use it to develop the game and to assist in better organizing the clubs at a higher level.”
He said CIFA should be taking legal action to get the money returned.
He said spending from the GOAL project for the Centre of Excellence should also be investigated and independent audit investigations carried out to determine what other funds, if any, had been diverted from the football association.
Mr. Moxam, who was prevented from standing for Mr. Blake’s first vice president position at the association’s annual general meeting last year as a result of what he believes was a technicality, said he would not take part in a sham ballot.
He said Mr. Blake’s position as vice president has no legal basis because the meeting was not properly constituted.
“You can’t have a proper annual general meeting without the presentation of audited accounts. They weren’t able to present audited accounts so the meeting and the election was not valid, therefore any decisions made during or subsequent to that meeting are invalid.”
He said Mr. Blake’s position, as well as the five other elected positions on the executive committee, should all be up for vote in May. He plans to meet with the clubs and urge them to demand a clean sweep.
“We need to clear the decks, bring in an interim board, get the accounts in order and then have a properly constituted annual general meeting to elect new officials,” Mr. Moxam said.
“Just having an election and voting in someone to replace Jeff [Webb] is not enough.
“I want to encourage the general public to offer its assistance and work with the clubs in their particular districts to rid our local football of the cancer of corruption.”
The position of deputy general secretary will also be up for election at the May meeting.