CONCACAF rejigs Council and trumpets a year of ‘transition’

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April 10 – CONCACAF, whose corrupt US officials and marketing representatives wrought one half of the storm that has decimated FIFA, held their 32nd Congress on the relative calm of the Caribbean island of Aruba at the weekend. Top of their agenda was the election of representatives to their own Council as well as to the FIFA Council.

Rodolfo Villalobos of Costa Rica and Decio De Maria of Mexico were elected to the CONCACAF Council as Vice Presidents. Carlos Cordeiro of the US, Jorge Rajo of El Salvador, and Maurice Victoire of Martinique were also elected to the CONCACAF Council as Members.

US Soccer Federation president Sunil Gulati was re-elected to the FIFA Council. He had previously served on FIFA’s executive committee, a positon he won in a controversial election against then Mexican federation president Justino Compean by a single vote. Perhaps ironically, disgraced former CONCACAF president Jeffrey Webb, currently awaiting sentencing in the US for football corruption crimes, voted for Gulati in an election he won 18-17.

With the US, Mexico and Canada set to formally announce their joint bid for the 2026 World Cup on Monday, they will have two members (Gulati and CONCACAF’s Canadian president Victor Montagliani), fighting their corner at FIFA Council which decides which bids for 2026 will go through to voting by the full FIFA membership – assuming there are rivals to their bid.

Emphasising his ONE CONCACAF Vision and strategy for football growth, Montagliani said: “Across the Confederation, we are building greater accountability, transparency and governance…2016 was a year of transition, we made solid progress on many fronts, including beginning the implementation of our vision and strengthening the partnership with each Member Association to transform our game, while broadening the opportunities for our youth, players, coaches, referees, and administrators.”

The budget for 2017 was passed but details of that budget have not been released to the press, which raises all the obvious questions about the “greater accountability, transparency and governance” Montagliani is trumpeting.

However, one area where it does have money to spend (and following a theme championed by FIFA president Gianni Infantino and his love of hiring former footballers for unknown and undefined roles) is the creation of a Players Ambassador Program “aimed at advising and supporting CONCACAF in its mission to develop football.”

A CONCACAF press release named two former English Premier League footballers – Ricardo Gardner (Jamaica), and Jason Roberts (Grenada) – as initial members of the programme alongside Canada’s Karina LeBlanc. Perhaps they will be able to make more sense of this programme than FIFA has done with theirs.

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