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Seaga welcomes Burrell's move to clear the air

Published:Sunday | June 5, 2011 | 6:00 AM
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André Lowe, Senior Staff Reporter

Chairman of the Professional Football Association of Jamaica and the Premier League Clubs Association (PLCA) Edward Seaga has welcomed the recent statement by Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) president Captain Horace Burrell, which distances the federation from the bribery claims that has rocked the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) and the FIFA.

Burrell had stated through a release, that his association was neither offered nor received any money to throw its support behind former FIFA presidential candidate Mohamed bin Hammam.

Bin Hamman along with Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) and CFU president Austin 'Jack' Warner, have since been suspended by FIFA pending investigations into the allegations, which claim that the pair offered regional associations US$40,000 to vote for the former.

"Let me state categorically that the JFF was not offered neither received any funds prior to, during or after the reference CFU meeting held May 10-11 in Trinidad," read Burrell's release, which came shortly after Seaga had made calls for the JFF to break its silence and for guilty regional federations to return any money received.

Seaga, a former prime minister of Jamaica is happy to hear that the JFF's hands are clean but wondered whether or not this proclamation of innocence would have been forthcoming if he had not requested some clarity.

"This revelation (by Burrell) was the purpose of my press release in which I called for a disclosure by the JFF. It has enlightened the public on the role of the JFF where there was darkness before, justifying the enquiry from the PLCA. We are left to wonder if this disclosure of innocence would have been made, had not the PLCA called on the JFF to be transparent," read Seaga's latest release.

Serious mistake

Seaga, however, took issue with certain aspects of Burrell's release, particularly the reference to the PLCA as a subordinate body to the JFF.

"The PLCA is a subordinate body to the JFF and Mr. Seaga will not be allowed to use the privileges granted by the JFF to the PLCA to hurl insults and disrespect at the members of the federation," said Burrell.

Seaga dismissed this notion and underlined that his organisation will continue to pursue transparency at the JFF.

"It is the expressed view of Captain Burrell that the PLCA is a subordinate body to the JFF, and should not be critical of the JFF, nor should it pressure the JFF to be transparent. He has made a serious mistake. The PLCA is not a subordinate of the JFF. It is a private independent body affiliated to the JFF obliged to respect the rules of FIFA and the JFF. Nothing in these rules prevents an affiliate (PLCA) from being critical of FIFA or the JFF," said Seaga.

"Anywhere we suspect corruption, the PLCA will pursue it in the interest of football. The PLCA will not be subjected to silence by anyone in any organisation when it comes to allegations or suspicions of misconduct, especially corruption," Seaga continued. "Captain Burrell must face reality and separate himself from the illusions of grandeur with which he has been surrounded. Those days are gone forever."