On Saturday, the Football Federation of Belize held it's third Extraordinary Congress to try to get some important business of football taken care of. You'll remember that just over 2 months ago, they tried to hold an ordinary congress - but that hd to be called off because there was no quorum due to infighting within the Federation.
So, they tried again this weekend to deal with important pending matters. And while they did have some measure of success this time around, the outstanding elections are no closer to being held. Our news team was there for 6 hours to find out how things look within the FFB's Executive, and Daniel Ortiz reports:
Daniel Ortiz reporting
At this Saturday's Extraordinary Congress, there was no protest, no staying home, and no standoff in the battle for power of the Football Federation of Belize.
All delegates showed up, and housekeeping matters were handled.
Marlon Kuylen - Acting President, FFB
"We would like to report that we had a successful extraordinary congress in that attendance wise, we had a 100% quorum."
But, on the biggest outstanding matter, the election of the president and the vice president, the FFB did not make any significant progress towards a resolution. In fact, it looks like they've made a few steps back. There were supposed to be sweeping changes where a new electoral committee, an electoral appeals committee, and an ethics committee would be installed.
The electoral committee and the appeals committee were sort of put on blast in the fight between Ruperto Vicente and Sergio Chuc, over Chuc's disqualification as a candidate for the Presidency. New members of those committees were supposed to be put in, but the FFB statutes don't allow for an arbitrary change of such important judicial bodies in football. So, that agenda item stalled.
"On agenda item to remove the current electoral committee and electoral appeals committee, there was no justification as to why these members or these committees were to be replaced and disbanded, and replaced by new members."
"When it comes to the electoral committee, the electoral appeals committee, or any committee of a judicial body for that matter, if there will be a change, there has to be justification as to why that change is being requested. And since we couldn't get that, then, we couldn't proceed."
But, the football community in Belize, and indeed FIFA want this matter resolved as soon as possible.
In fact, On Thursday, 2 days before their extraordinary congress, the Secretary General of FIFA wrote to the executive of the FFB - and among other things, he said, quote, "We were surprised to learn that you intend to organize elections for the president and the vice-presidentâ€¦ 'No later than 23 June, 2018â€¦ The FFB needs to revise its statutesâ€¦ by the end of 2018. In order to implement this decision, it is crucial that that a fully elected FFB executive committee is in place. We would therefore kindly urge you to provide us with a new timeline for the timely holding of the election of the president and vice president as soon as possible." End quote.
The acting president told us that they are in consultation with FIFA and CONCACAF to determine if they can hold more congress meetings to speed the process along.
"The question we had to them was, 1, can there be elections at an extraordinary congress? And if no, can 2 ordinary congresses be called in 1 calendar year? And then, how do we proceed, depending on our meeting today? And the results of it, how does that affect the elections, when they are called. And that is why, FIFA is telling us that on Monday, they will convene and then respond to our questions."
And on the Ethics Committee, which would scrutinize candidates who wanted to run for posts on the FFB executive, the extraordinary congress ran into problems there as well.
"As to the Ethics Committee, we had an ad hoc committee do an eligibility check on 10 names that were submitted, of which, we were going to choose 5 for the ethics committee. And they short listed it, and they made a recommendation with the 5 strongest persons who they believe would have made up a strong ethics committee. However, our statutes dictate, and the electoral (code) states that the electoral committee must be present to conduct elections of a judicial body, especially the chairman and the vice chairman. So, we could have proceeded with the approval of the recommendations of the ad hoc committee to appoint the 5 members that were recommended. But, we'd have had to elect the chairman of the committee. And since an Electoral committee is not present here today, then, we could not proceed with that."
So, since that's such a simple rule to comply with, why wasn't the Electoral Committee a part of the Extraordinary Congress?
Well, the Acting President says that they too were to be replaced, and well...
"Well they, (laughs) well, because they were supposed to be replaced today, we could notâ€¦ You can't have them here if they're looking to be replaced. But, we live and we learn um."
"Another extraordinary congress will be held to deal with these items that we could not go through with today."
We'll have a little more in tomorrow's newscast, when we'll show you what the President had to say about the administrative costs consuming 63% of the FFB's budget for 2017.