By Paul Nicholson
March 3 – CONCACAF has publicly taken the gloves off in its fight to take control of the Caribbean, announcing it will open its own office in Jamaica later this month. The move will effectively see the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) removed from all competition organisation of qualifying events for CONCACAF championships.
The Jamaica satellite office will see CONCACAF directly administer the former CFU championship events, though they will likely remove all CFU logos and acknowledgements from the competitions they run. This has already happened with the CFU club championship, which CONCACAF took over two seasons ago. The championship is the Caribbean qualifier for the CONCACAF Champions League.
CONCACAF’s view of the role of the CFU under their new imposed regime seems to be one of ‘development-only’ and directly in contradiction to the commitment FIFA made at its Congress in May 2016 to support its region sub-confederations with $1 million grants. Those grants have still to be paid out.
It would appear there is a mix-up between policy and politics in the battle for control of the 31 CFU member associations. As regards competition, the prevailing view from north America towards the Caribbean seems to be “we’re funding it so we’re running it”.
CONCACAF President Victor Montagliani said in a press release: “Opening the new office in the Caribbean represents a major step towards our ONE CONCACAF Vision. It reaffirms our focus on serving all 41 Member Associations, while investing in football.
“This new location strengths our Confederation’s ability to operate efficiently and in a fully integrated way, in order to continue driving long-term growth across the region.”
CONCACAF said it “is expected to triple its investment in Caribbean competitions as compared to previous years”, and that nearly 80% of the ONE CONCACAF financial assistance programme will be allocated.
CONCACAF have not responded to enquiries to clarify what 80% FAP actually means in money terms or how much of CONCACAF’s overall budget this equates to.
CONCACAF also refused to answer which competitions they would be taking over or if they would be launching any new competitions via their new direct role in running the Caribbean.
The confederation is still providing some limited funding for the CFU, most notably in paying staff, but did not reply to Insideworldfootball questions about what funding they would allocate to the CFU going forward or any role they envisaged it playing in the Caribbean.
Frankly, they didn’t reply to much in any detail. This may be because they are still conducting a roadshow of Caribbean member associations to tell them about how the new regime will operate in the region.
The Jamaica office will be headed by CONCACAF Caribbean Football Director, Horace Reid, a former Jamaican FA official who will relocate from Miami back to his home country.
CFU president Gordon Derrick refused to comment except to say, when pushed, that “we are not looking to be at war with CONCACAF”.
Whether he likes it or not, Caribbean insiders who asked not to be named, said that CONCACAF declared war when they tried to influence the election for CFU president at the end of 2016. Having failed to get their man elected they have effectively taken control of the region by force. The question will now be whether they can take control of their hearts and minds having taken control of their financial subsistence and means to govern their own competitions.
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