In the wake of the crisis in Haiti, CONCACAF President Jack Warner sent the CFU's "Captain" Burrell of Jamaica to Port-au-Prince, where he was met by a heavily bandaged HFF chief Yves Jean Bar.
Bar reports that the HFF was meeting at the time of the first earthquake and that thirty Haitian soccer officials, coaches and referees were killed when the three story HFF headquarters building collapsed. Another twenty people remain missing.
Bar himself was the lone survivor.
Among those confirmed dead is former Senior National team head coach Gerard Cineus and Jean-Yves Labaze, who held a number of national team positions, most recently coaching the U17 side at their World Cup in Korea in 2007.
Fernando Clavijo, the former US International who coached Haiti from 2003-2005, has been trying to reach his former assistant cocahes and players without success.
``That building, which I was in many times, was a beautiful antique house, but it was unfinished and I can see how it would fall,...it rips my heart out because the Haitian people were always happy, even though they had nothing. They celebrated that 1-1 tie (with the US in 2003) for two days over there. Soccer brought them joy, and now, they truly have nothing.''
FIFA has responded to a personal request from Warner by pledging US$250,000 to aid in relief efforts while FIFA Vice President Chung Moon-Jung has personaly pledged US$500,000. Warner himself is sending US$100,000.
In a prepared statement issued by CONCACAF, Warner said:
“The Football Community stands in solidarity with Haiti. As our brothers and sisters face their darkest hour , we must let them know that they are not alone . As the world still comes to terms with the calamity that has befallen this Caribbean nation, we in football understand our role to the people of Haiti. In a time of hopelessness and despair, in spite of the apparent destruction and devastation which surrounds Haiti at this time , we must do what we can to restore hope and faith , for without these qualities all will be lost.”
Here's a portion of the report Burrell presented to CONCACAF:
“I was met at the airport by an injured President Dr Yves Jean Bart (President of Haitian Football Federation). His injuries and bandages remain stark reminders of his narrow escape from the crumbling building following the earthquake.
President Jean Bart, explained that he and other members of the executive committee were meeting at the time of the quake and he is the only survivor.
As we travelled down what now remains of the major highway, the buildings that line the roadways are but crumbled shells of their previous incarnations ,not even a hint of their previous grandeur can be seen. None is a truer reflection of this statement than the Federation’s headquarters.
Once a three story magnanimous structure, all that remains is a concrete slab. The stench of death is present everywhere on this island. As we looked at the ruins, I saw three decomposing bodies , visibly mangled in the rubble.
All that it would take is proper equipment to free the bodies, to allow their families the courtesy of a proper funeral. But many on this island have been robbed of that courtesy.
These are the bodies of our colleagues, and more lay beneath the debris
President Jean Bart has confirmed that 30 members of the Federation are dead. Twenty bodies remain mangled beneath the Federation’s headquarters.
Among the dead, Administrators, Referees, Coaches including the HFF’s most experienced coach ,who recently coached the U 17 team in the WC tournament in Korea, Medical Personnel, Players, Office Staff.
In addition, to the disaster at the Office, it is reported that a number of Players and other Officials have either died or remain unaccounted for at other places throughout the City.
May God help the people of Haiti
Even if you're not Jack Warner and don't have $100,000 laying around, you can still do your bit; every last nickel of the price goes down to help out: