By Paul Nicholson
April 21 – Caribbean Football Union (CFU) president Gordon Derrick has expressed disappointment at the resignation of two of his executive committee members who demanded he should resign after he lost an appeal at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) over his exclusion from the CONCACAF presidential elections last year.
Puerto Rico Football Association president Eric Labrador resigned at the CFU Congress two weeks ago and since then First Vice-President Cheney Joseph, the Grenada Football Association boss, has followed him.
“Resignation is a serious matter and something we must all look at,” said Derrick. “I wish they hadn’t resigned but chosen to remain and fight for Caribbean football as a whole. We have a lot of work to do in our region to progress the game and the reality is that it can only be done effectively within the region by people from within our own member associations.”
CONCACAF has recently opened its own office in Jamaica to run the qualifying competitions for its own championships. CONCACAF has significantly reduced its funding to the CFU, but has taken over the running of the qualifiers, pretty much to the budgets and schedules set out by the CFU. For its part the CFU has no issue with the One CONCACAF strategy and has turned its focus to new development competitions, youth and women competitions and inter-regional competitions accommodating Dutch, French and Spanish speaking islands. The phrase they use is “being relevant” to what is required within the Caribbean to develop the game.
“We are a proud region and we know our markets better than anyone. We also know that we have a responsibility to develop our own talent and provide them with opportunity. That isn’t going to happen with outsiders coming in and taking over, we are the only people who will really make a difference to our future and we need to work together as a region to do this,” said Derrick.
“We need help via the financial assistance grants that we are entitled to, like all the other FIFA members. But we cannot rely on that alone and we need to develop our own programmes and competitions. No-one else has any intention of doing that, no-one has done that for us yet. Their ambition for our region is usually to get our political support, often for their own personal benefit and enrichment. I don’t see that that has changed yet, in fact it may have got a little worse.”
Derrick says the priority for the Caribbean is to develop meaningful competitions and programmes for its members that will develop football and the talent within the region. On his own situation he says he is uncomfortable with the FIFA eligibility ruling that kept him out of the CONCACAF elections.
“There is a point of principle here, that is why I appealed against the ruling. I have nothing to hide and will speak to anyone about the case. It isn’t a big deal but it has been made into a big deal by outside forces. People need to look at the facts, ask the right questions and talk to me. We need more people working for football in our region. Not people working against it for political advancement.”
Further reading: Editorial: Piracy in the Caribbean
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