The Cayman Islands Football Association is seeking to appeal the FIFA Disciplinary Committee decision to fine CIFA US$55,500.
The proposed fine stems from incidents at the qualifying match between the Cayman Islands and Canada in March, where FIFA reported that CIFA president Alfredo Whittaker did not present PCR COVID-19 test results for Cayman’s national team as required by FIFA’s standard safety protocols.
“We all understand that the fine is pretty big,” CIFA general secretary Marcos Tinoco told the Cayman Compass. “That was a very difficult time for us, with COVID, things not being organised, the president having to travel and everything else. No decision has been made yet but…we will try to have FIFA reconsider that.”
Whittaker called FIFA’s decision inequitable. “The executive committee and myself, obviously after reviewing with our legal team, we are not in agreement with [the] decision and unanimously we disagree and we will take the necessary actions to reverse [it],” he told the Compass.
Whittaker has also been banned from official duties involving the national team for the next six months after FIFA found him guilty of “misconduct and inappropriate behaviour towards a match official”. CIFA is not appealing that decision.
The sanctions relate to incidents at the qualifying match between the Cayman Islands and Canada held in Bradenton, Florida, on 29 March 2021, which Cayman lost 0-11. The match had to be postponed by one day because Whittaker – who was also Cayman’s team manager – did not present PCR COVID-19 test results of national-team players and officials as required by FIFA’s protocols.
Long-time Cayman national coach Ernie ‘Gillie’ Seymour, also weighed in on the controversy, telling the Compass that his concern is with the football players.
“I don’t want to say too much because you going to hear, ‘Oh Gillie this and Gillie that’, but If anyone wants to do something about Alfredo, it has to be the players, who make up 90% of CIFA, not Gillie,” said Seymour. “The issue is our players are not involved and are not educated with the business aspect of things, which needs to change. But all this does not stop football from being played… that’s what matters to me, is our youth still being able to do what they love.”
Readers shared their views on the news of the fine on the Compass Facebook page, with one commenter saying, “$55,500 that could have gone to youth football development”.
Another reader called for CIFA to take action against Whittaker: “Please, he needs to be removed now, what another disgrace for Cayman Islands football. [C]ome on football players let’s call an emergency meeting and have him removed.”
Tinoco acknowledged that the trip to Florida was overwhelming, adding that the incidents in question were a mistake on Whittaker’s part.
“I’m not saying it’s not wrong, but the president did not understand the PCR testing and it was even more difficult with all the travelling,” he said. “The suspension is match-related…and nothing outside the game and that’s what the public needs to understand.”
CIFA has not confirmed when they will appeal the FIFA decision.