Burrell stands firm
Jermaine Lannaman, Gleaner Writer
Acting president of the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) and president of the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF), Captain Horace Burrell, yesterday reiterated the federation's position that it did not receive a US$40,000 gift from former FIFA presidential candidate, Mohamed bin Hammam, in the lead-up to June's FIFA presidential elections.
Bin Hammam was last Saturday banned from football for life after being found guilty of corruption by FIFA's ethics panel. The panel ruled that the Qatari candidate who has denied all the charges, offered several CFU members the gift at a meeting in Trinidad and Tobago in May in exchange for their votes against incumbent president, Joseph 'Sepp' Blatter.
However, Burrell, who is also an executive member of CONCACAF, says Jamaica is not one of those countries, and he was looking forward to a resolution to the matter.
"I have said it already, and I will say it again. We did not receive any money," said Burrell.
"People will speculate and say all kind of things, but we know that we did not receive any, and we look forward to the matter being resolved."
FIFA, in delivering its ethics panel findings, said witness statements were collected from nine CFU members during the investigations. This included confessions of having received money, and allegations that other CFU member countries did as well.
This has since forced the panel to recommend to FIFA's central executive that further investigations be carried out into the matter against other football officials, a recommendation that FIFA has since responded to by the issuing of an ultimatum.
The ultimatum, which came via a media release and was issued to CFU members on Monday, stated that FIFA was giving CFU members 48 hours to explain their part in the Trinidad meeting.
It went on to add "any person, including presidents and their members, who has relevant information" but doesn't come forward "will be subject to the full range of sanctions, including a lifetime ban from the sport."
Asked what was his take on the ultimatum, Burrell said he welcomed FIFA's calls, and urged CFU members, some of whom did not participate in the first investigations, to cooperate with the world governing body.
"I think what FIFA is asking for is cooperation, and as acting president my stance is that the membership of the CFU has a responsibility to cooperate with the requests, so that we can get on and in the end get on with the business of governing football," said Burrell.
"The first time around some leaders were not able to meet the timelines that were set ... and this is now an opportunity for them to do so and make their contribution," he added.