MIAMI - A split within CONCACAF deepened
on Wednesday when its acting president insisted the regional
football governing body's general secretary Chuck Blazer had been
fired and accused him of "waging war."
Barbadian Lisle Austin has taken over from Jack Warner, the
FIFA vice-president who is suspended from all football activities
pending a full inquiry into bribery charges.
Austin said he had fired CONCACAF general secretary Blazer
and on Wednesday he also announced that he had hired an unnamed
Miami accounting firm to conduct a "forensic audit" of the last
five years of the organisation's accounts.
While that report could provide further sparks in the
conflict, it remains to be seen whether Austin can succeed in
driving America Blazer out of the organisation.
Blazer had filed the report on bribery allegations in the
Caribbean which led to Warner's suspension.
The American issued a statement late on Tuesday night
through CONCACAF's media department in New York saying Austin
had no right, or power, under its statutes to fire him and he
remained in office with the body for North and Central America
and the Caribbean.
On Wednesday, though, with the FIFA Congress discussing a
"zero tolerance" approach to corruption, Austin issued another
statement via Warner's media service in Port of Spain, Trinidad,
saying Blazer remained fired and the New York statements were
"The statement released by the CONCACAF Media Department
last night as it relates to the status of the former General
Secretary Chuck Blazer are not the official views of CONCACAF,"
said Austin's latest statement.
"This is yet another blatant disregard for process and
procedure by the former staff member."
"The former General Secretary was one of the administrators
of the servers used by the CONCACAF department and has access to
it and presently still has access to all of the Confederation's
"The response from the CONCACAF Media Department is not only
the fruit of illegal actions on the part of Mr Blazer, who is no
longer the General Secretary of this Confederation, but is
tantamount to trespassing since, the unauthorised use of
CONCACAF's services and equipment by non-CONCACAF staff is
"In my capacity as Acting President, I will not order the
immediate shutdown of all online facilities of the Confederation
due the integral role it plays in our day to day operations.
"It saddens me to note that Mr Blazer is using the online
publications of a Confederation of which he is no longer
employed to wage a war against the Office of the Acting
CONCACAF's premier tournament, the Gold Cup, starts on
Sunday in Dallas featuring 12 teams playing in 13 venues across
the United States.
Austin's letter announcing the audit was sent to four senior
CONCACAF officials who he says held a meeting on Tuesday night
without his knowledge.
The four executive committee members the letter was
addressed to are U.S. Soccer Federation president Sunil Gulati,
Mexican Football Federation president Justino Compean, Ariel
Alvarado of Panama and Alfredo Hawit of Honduras.
With Austin's powerbase, which like Warner's is in the
Caribbean, and Blazer gaining support from the North and Central
American federations, the split in the organisations has taken
on a distinct geographical character which could prove difficult
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