MIAMI - FIFA has urged CONCACAF's rival
factions to resolve their differences while the regional
confederation's lawyer has warned ousted president Lisle Austin
against taking court action.
FIFA backed the move by CONCACAF's executive to suspend
acting president Austin and said the body must end the bitter
divide that emerged after allegations of bribery in the
Caribbean led to the suspension of the organisation's president
In a letter to CONCACAF acting president Alfredo Hawit,
seen by Reuters, FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke said it
was time for the infighting to end.
"We believe it is important that as Acting President, but
also the CONCACAF Executive Committee and all relevant CONCACAF
bodies, now focus on bringing back unity to CONCACAF. It goes
without saying that FIFA is at your and CONCACAF's disposal
should you need any assistance or advice," wrote Valcke.
Frenchman Valcke accepted the move to remove Barbadian
Austin was valid but also reminded the confederation for North
and Central America and the Caribbean that Austin should be
given the chance to appeal.
"After a thorough analysis of the file in our possession,
the bureau of the FIFA Legal Committee emphasised that the
relevant steps and decisions taken within CONCACAF appear to be
in line with the statutory provisions of CONCACAF.
"However, the bureau of the FIFA Legal Committee emphasised
that all legal remedies must remain open to those who do not
agree with any decisions taken against them, in line with the
relevant articles of the CONCACAF statutes," wrote Valcke.
Austin has a hearing within CONCACAF set for 13 July.
Insisting that he is the rightful president of the
organisation, Austin, who was in charge for just four days
before being removed, has turned to the high court in Bahamas,
where CONCACAF is legally domiciled as a 'not-for-profit
On Friday, Austin declared he had won an injunction against
the majority group which he said meant he could not be stopped
from carrying out his role as acting president.
But CONCACAF's lawyer John Collins said Austin's move to
regular courts breached CONCACAF and FIFA statutes and would
lead to further sanction if the Barbadian did not cease.
"Mr. Austin's attempt to involve the ordinary courts is a
clear violation of FIFA and CONCACAF's statutes and if he does
not immediately take action to dismiss the court case, he may
be subject to additional discipline by FIFA and CONCACAF,"
Collins told Reuters.
FIFA's statutes make clear that disputes should be settled
within soccer's structures with the Court of Arbitration for
Sport, in Lausanne, Switzerland, as the final arena for
Warner was suspended by FIFA after allegations of bribery
and pending further investigations by its ethics committee but
no such charges have been made against Austin.
CONCACAF has declined to explain the detailed reason for
Austin's removal, official documents referring only to an
"apparent infringement" of statutes.
In the short time before he was suspended, Austin tried to
fire CONCACAF's general secretary Chuck Blazer and announced he
was conducting a 'forensic audit' of the body's accounts over
the past five years.
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