Tue | Jan 22, 2019

Capt Horace Burrell - sporting administrator nonpareil

Published:Tuesday | December 16, 2014 | 12:00 AM
JFF boss Captain Horace Burrell

"Let us praise great men and their fathers who begat them."

Foster's Fairplay has not experienced the privilege of meeting Captain Horace Burrell's father. However, one must recognise his illustrious son. Who will explain, how can a sporting administrator be buffeted, his reputation battered and bruised by so many supposedly battle ready combatants and still remain in his elected job?

The first encounter, as was thought then, with the Captain was during his army days. As a customs enforcement officer, an assignment culminated at Up Park Camp. The officer, recognising past sporting exposure, sauntered over and extended a hand of goodwill and welcome to what was his territory. Mentioning that there was a previous introduction by Jackie Bell (that departed football genius gives no recognition to the unworthy), he afforded this journalist, commendation on the execution of service to nation. There was surprise at his insight to a life thought to be private.

A few years after, there was a craving to do my first football coverage. Accreditation to attend a match in Central America was attempted. It was torpedoed by an in-house Jamaica Football Federation employee on the grounds of "Who are you?" A word to the Captain to alleviate further embarrassment yielded a response that had copious apologies, and some tears to match, flowing from the now enlightened but scared lady.

It was suggested by the then federation general secretary, Horace Reid, that her job tenure rested with the "disrespected journalist".

The culture of respect and recognition for service was again clear, despite trying for a sport where a track record was non-existent. Profound respect for the Captain has reigned since.


Lest there is an accusation from the eagle eye and equally sharp tongue of colleague Ed Barnes, the support for the Captain will go beyond the confines of personal experience.

The FIFA administrator's politics is no secret. That he could take the time and the effort, as was done at a recent press conference, to congratulate the nation's administration and Madam Prime Minister herself, demonstrates the measure of the man. This done for the tremendous support in torrid times for football. The act was accompanied by a swagger, emphasising the main focus of an argument that embraced sincerity and serious intent. It is a fair bet that it also assured further government input.

The Captain is a clever man who understands the seizing of the moment, as well as the microphones, to add value to an already powerful message.

Foster's Fairplay addresses all who consider it their duty to unseat the Captain. These include some highly respected friends. The football boss has failings like the rest. His company's continued sponsorship of parish leagues might be considered self-serving. But are replacements beating down the doors to build character and secure the future for the nation's talented youths? Do they put families on standby until the more "acceptable sponsor" comes along?

Go thou and do likewise before there is thought of getting rid of Captain Burrell, sporting leader extraordinaire.

Aye Aye, Skipper, give it full steam.