By Paul Nicholson
September 20 – Champagne corks will be popping in Miami, New York, and Zurich following the decision by the FIFA Ethics adjudicatory chamber to ban Gordon Derrick, the president of the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) and general secretary of the Antigua and Barbuda Football Association (ABFA), for six years.
The decision marks the end of a concerted political campaign by CONCACAF and FIFA to get rid of the CFU chief and gain control of the Caribbean region for their own political requirements.
Derrick fought against FIFA and CONCACAF’s financial backing of candidates standing against him but still won the majority of the Caribbean vote. He battled against holding together the integrity of the CFU and it competitions as grants and funding were stripped from his organisation.
But ultimately he was never going to beat the political machine and its use of its ethics body to achieve their political objectives. It is a sad day for Caribbean football and Caribbean self-determination. It is a triumphant day for North America and FIFA who with this decision have sent a spine chilling message to the Caribbean – it’s our way or the highway.
Whatever the charges and evidence against Derrick – and Insideworldfootball has previously seen detail of the charges and evidence against him – you can be assured that this decision and the severity of the sentence had very little to do with the allegations against him.
In the week following the revelations of Miguel Maduro (FIFA’s former chairman of its governance committee sacked by president Gianni Infantino) of how FIFA and Infantino exerted pressure on its Ethics process, the football world has another spectacular example of how FIFA’s ethics process is the manipulated blunt instrument of last resort to get rid of people who don’t follow their line or are perceived to be ‘against’ the new regime.
FIFA said that “the adjudicatory chamber found Mr Derrick guilty of having violated articles 20 (Offering and accepting of gifts or other benefits), 19 (Conflicts of interest), 15 (Loyalty) and 13 par. 4 (General rules of conduct) of the FIFA Code of Ethics (FCE). In addition, the adjudicatory chamber decided that the official had breached articles 18 (Duty of disclosure, cooperation and reporting) and 41 (Obligation of the parties to collaborate) in the course of the present proceedings.”
The decision, one of the first under the regime of new Ethics chief judge Vassilios Skouris from Greece, is further remarkable by the extension by two years of the ban originally sought by FIFA’s former chief prosecutor Cornel Borbely.
Prosecutors usually see their demands reduced by judges, not increased. It is an uncomfortable decision from a judge who will have had little or no familiarity with the case, the politics, the context or the impact of his decision. It seems Skouris is a judge who is out to please his boss.
Skouris also doubled the financial penalty Borbely was asking for to CHF30,000, money Derrick is very unlikely to have, especially now he has been stripped of his livelihood. That size of the fine looks like a tactic to make sure he doesn’t have enough money to appeal the decision.
While Derrick will take the punishment, it is ultimately the Caribbean region that is the target, according to one CONCACAF and the CFU insider who spoke to Insideworldfootball on condition he remained anonymous. “Gordon Derrick was targeted because of his ability to muster support from the majority of the region. The region is being forced into subjugation.”
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