The Bahamas responsible for soccer reflection
Sepp Blatter is on a great mission. The president of the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) wants to reform the organization. There is this big focus now on brightening up the image of FIFA.
Here in The Bahamas, followers of soccer and others are filled with pride because it was our own representatives from the Bahamas Football Association (BFA) who inspired FIFA reflection.
When BFA Vice President Fred Lunn became alarmed because of being handed money at a Caribbean Football Union (CFU) meeting this past May in Trinidad, he called BFA President Anton Sealey. Lunn was told that under no circumstances should he accept the funds. Lunn did not and the decision by The Bahamas sparked the strong movement toward full credibility that is going on within FIFA.
Lunn must be congratulated for being concerned about the bigger issue of respect and refusing to be dazzled by an envelope full of money, $40,000. He did the right thing when he contacted his president for further advice.
Sealey cemented the credibility of the BFA when he issued his directive.
Now, largely because of those two men, FIFA has been turned over on its head. There have long been rumors of bribery within FIFA. Allegations of bribery, in fact hang over previous FIFA “host bids” and elections. Because of Lunn and Sealey it is not likely it will ever be business as usual in FIFA again.
In the Caribbean, the fallout that has been highlighted by the resignation of the once powerful Jack Warner from his CFU and Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) presidential positions, includes suspensions handed down to a growing number of officials.
There are 10 more Caribbean soccer officials under investigation by FIFA. They will know what the FIFA decision is, in each case, by the middle of this month. It is heart-warming that in this avalanche of bribery allegations, the BFA because of Lunn and Sealey is head and shoulders above the fray. Lunn and Sealey demonstrated clearly that when it comes to apparent deal-making, they are not so inclined.
The position they took struck a mighty blow for The Bahamas around the world. It wasn’t that many years ago, when because of corruption allegations within this country, The Bahamas was labeled “a nation for sale”. Certainly at this point, some of their former colleagues in the region are not looking at them favorably. Because they dared to act in an honorable manner they will get the silent treatment and will no doubt be spoken about unkindly in some regional circles.
They can hold their heads up high though with the full knowledge that what they did demands respect around the world. Blatter continues to try and move FIFA to a state of full respect. In FIFA history however, Lunn and Sealey are the ones who will be known forever as the catalysts for change in one of the mightiest organizations in the world.
Indeed, The Bahamas is responsible for the great soccer reflection going on presently. The sport will definitely be better off because of those two Bahamians.
(To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at [email protected])
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