Tue | Apr 7, 2020

Blatter, Warner, Burrell have been good for Ja's football

Published:Tuesday | June 2, 2015 | 12:00 AMOral Tracey, Contributor
FIFA president Sepp Blatter after his election as President at the Hallenstadion in Zurich, Switzerland, yesterday. Blatter has been re-elected as FIFA president for a fifth term, chosen to lead world soccer despite separate US and Swiss criminal investigations into corruption.
Jack Warner
Captain Horace Burrell

With former CONCACAF President and FIFA vice-president Austin 'Jack' Warner, as well as the man who was his immediate successor in those two prestigious positions, Jeff Webb, being two of the most prominent figures at the centre of the scandal that is now crippling the world governing body off football FIFA, it is obvious that the credibility of the confederation of CONCACAF has been hardest hit by these developments.

Something that has also become equally obvious, is that a lot of people seem not to understand or care enough about the negative implications for the region's and indeed Jamaica's football from this ongoing implosion.

There seems to be an inherent naivety about the way world football is structured and governed and how important it is for each region and each affiliate to defend its own interest.

The 209 affiliates of FIFA are divided into six geographical confederations Europe, Asia, Africa, Oceana, South America and CONCACAF (North America, Central America and the Caribbean).

The perennial tug-a-war for the control of the affairs of the world's most popular sport has basically been between Europe and the rest of the world. The Europeans with their superior resources, wealthy and prestigious leagues and numbers in terms of participation in the sport at the elite level, understandably feel that they should be in control of the affairs of football, and should not be put in a position where by the governance structure of the game, Germany, Italy and France have no greater say than Jamaica, Barbados or St Lucia in the running of the game.

Ironically, this is precisely the kind of equity that Blatter has fought for and has implemented during his four terms as FIFA president. This is why despite all the negativity surrounding his leadership of the game, Blatter remains very popular in corridors of power of the beautiful game. Blatter was returned to office for a fifth consecutive term simply because most of the people who are integrally involved with the game, think he has done more good than bad for the game of football.

The regional football leadership inclusive of Jack Warner, Horace Burrell, and even Jeff Webb, despite his relatively short stint, have all been more good than bad for regional and local football.


grateful to Warner


Had it not been for Jack Warner, who advocated relentlessly for the increase of the number of teams to qualify for the World Cup Finals from this region from two to three and half, then Jamaica, and subsequently Trinidad and Tobago, would more than likely never ever have qualified for the World Cup Finals. For that I will be eternally grateful for these gentlemen, regardless of how history treats them. Facts are facts, and we have an obligation to be fair and balanced in contextualising their roles in regional and local football.

If and when the status quo changes and the 'Jack' Warners, Sepp Blatters and the Horace Burrells of this world no longer determine or wield power in the governance of the game, and the Europeans get the chance to reset their claws into the running of the football "dawg nyam we supper" we shall revert to our roles as minnows and grumbling victims of the reverse side of the nepotism and politicking that will always be at the forefront of the governance of the game.

Don't be fooled by all the rhetoric, platitudes and the noise emanating from the dizzy heights of the moral high ground, the governance structure of football will not change any time soon. The individuals in the various positions might change but the reality of what world football is, has always been, will remain very much the same.

If we are not careful and meticulously thoughtful in arriving at the stance we take as a people on matters concerning world football, without even knowing it, we could be putting ourselves in a position, where Jamaica will never ever see better days than we have seen, under the vision and leadership and of Messrs Blatter, Warner, and Burrell .