FIFA's Shame, Blatter's Disgrace and the Cowards in the Media

When FIFA's Ethics Committee - and I'll get to their sorry asses in a minute - got done with their mighty labors and massive expenditures (do you think Freeh Group International Solutions works cheap?) - and passed around a few Hallmark cards to bribe taking CFU officials: "I'm sorry to say That you've been a bit naughty Here's a two week time out to make you less haughty"

Out of 15 CFU officials the only ones who received anything like significant sanctions were poor Franka "I'll take all the money you've got" Pickering of the BVIFA, who got an 18 month banishment and promptly resigned, and Jamaican Sugar Daddy Captain Horace Burrell, who was handed a three month stint on the Bad Boy bench in return for telling them all to go straight to hell.

The problem with the latter "punishment" (for lack of a better term) was that the Caribbean Football Union had scheduled an Extraordinary Congress for next month in an effort to fill all those unfortunate vacancies which have rendered them leaderless lo these past months.

Specifically, Burrell is the odds-on favorite to grab the Presidency and, not at all coincidentally, the FIFA ExCo seat that goes along with it which is of course the Brass Ring for all of these clowns.

Unfortunately, Burrell is ineligible to participate while under a FIFA suspension, which threw a serious kink into the process.

Further complicating the situation is that the person who was left third in line by the last CFU Congress - after Jack Warner and The Captain - was none other than Dr. Yves Jean Bart of Haiti, or "Dadou Jean-Bart" as he's known amongst his fellows on that unfortunate island.

As it happens, an interesting feature of the CFU Constitution declares that the legal domicile of that organization is the place where the President resides, meaning that as of last week the CFU is headquartered in Port au Prince, Haiti, a city which you may recall used to have a nice, shiny FA building (paid for with a $400,000 FIFA GOAL grant) before a February 2010 earthquake turned it into a pile of rubble with 30 dead people underneath it.

Another notable feature is that, constitutionally, the CFU's "administrative headquarters" is the city where the General Secretary resides, but since Jack Warner won't let Trinidadian GenSec Angenie Kanhai - or anyone else - into the building in Port of Spain, Chuck Blazer is providing her with space and equipment in CONCACAF's Miami offices. In other words, currently the administrative HQ of the CFU is in the US, which, you may have heard, is not in the Caribbean.

Which couples rather prosaically with the fact that the "legal" headquarters is currently in a pile of rubble.

Of course, Haiti has had plenty of time in which to build something new and lots of people have kicked in to help. Specifically, FIFA sent them $250,000 and Korean FA President and Hyundai heir Dr. Chung Moon-Jung followed with a personal donation of $500,000.

So where's the building? Well, you'd have to ask Jack Warner. He advised everyone to send the cash directly to him and no one has seen a dime of it since. It's been almost 2 years.

Maybe, instead of Andrew Jennings whining like a six year old girl about the outrage of how Blazer leaves his car in the FIFA parking lot he could take a few minutes to look into what his BFF Jack did with three quarters of a million bucks in Haitian earthquake reconstruction donations.

Nah. Sounds boring.

Which brings us back to the CFU Congress, which was slated for Jamaica on November 20.

This morning, Dr. Jean Bart announced that it has been postponed indefinitely.

At first glance this would appear to be a neat way to keep Burrell in the running until he's eligible again, but it's a lot more complicated than that.

Yes, Burrell is popular, and FIFA has cleverly managed to make him even more so with its utterly ham fisted ethics process which has cleverly left the entire Caribbean sporting community angry and resentful.

They're not stupid down there; they know that there've been a lot of greased palms down through the years, and although a lot of American writers don't seem to grasp the fact, not every citizen of a Caribbean island country is an easily buyable greedhead. Many people down there- are you sitting down - actually have some personal integrity.

However, FIFA - for whatever reason - is refusing to publicly explain the reasons for the punishments it's handing down.

So, for example, we're left to guess that Pickering got a long sentence because she raised her hand on tape and asked for more. Why one person got a one month suspension which was reduced to two weeks and another person got a letter of reprimand and someone else got something else, no one knows.

Which is to say nothing of Colin Klass and his 26 month whopper.

The punishments themselves are just big enough to engender resentment but not big enough to ever deter anyone from doing anything, ever, which is good because nobody knows the reasoning behind them anyway.

And then yesterday FIFA announced that they're going to look at ten more CFU officials in November.

At this point, if you're a Caribbean footballer, it's hard not to at least give some credence to what Jack is hollering to anyone who will listen, namely that FIFA is on a vendetta whose goal is to punish the CFU for listening to Bin Hammam.

The whole exercise seems to consist of a bunch of headlines calling CFU members crooks in order to make it look like Sepp is cleaning house.

What's more, Burrell is coming out of this as a real hero.

I'm told that in most of the Caribbean, due to their colonial history, there is a deeply ingrained cultural resentment towards people who are perceived to have collaborated, or "sung" to the authorities (particularly white European ones), and a corresponding admiration for those who resist.

Everyone knows that Burrell has steadfastly refused to speak with investigators or the committee about anything that happened at that fateful meeting in Post of Spain and, although we don't know because FIFA won't say, the presumption is that his complete lack of cooperation with Zurich on all of this is the reason why he got a three month suspension.

So ironically the fact that FIFA is seen as dumping on the guy, essentially making him pay for the sins of others, is building his case not just for the CFU Presidency but for CONCACAF, the FIFA Vice Presidency, the whole deal. They're handing it all to him, turning him into a hero.

Further complicating this whole mess is the fact that while he was serving as acting CFU President, Burrell had managed to accumulate a little operating cash, which was desperately needed since it's become apparent that Warner has looted every dime from the organization, all the TV money, everything. It's all vanished and nobody expects to see it again. The man was nothing but a thief and a shameless one.

However, with Burrell suspended, reportedly the bank accounts he had opened in Jamaica - remember the constitution - have now been placed off limits to him because it's Confederation money and FIFA says he is not allowed to conduct Confederation business.

So Jean Bart, over in Haiti, has no money at all, and certainly nothing like the kind of dough it would take to conduct a Congress, and thus the CFU can't hold an election.

One possible alternative might be the $16 million Joao Havelange Center of Excellence in Trinidad - paid for by FIFA - with it's dining facilities, meeting rooms and 50 room hotel and which legally belongs to CONCACAF. That would be a perfect spot to hold something like this but, alas, Jack is keeping that too.

Meanwhile the CFU is continuing to conduct qualifying matches because CONCACAF is paying the bills for them, which is now reportedly angering the Central American federations who feel that the Caribbean countries shouldn't get special treatment (read: extra money that they're not getting too).

So if you're keeping track at home: Jack Warner has everyone's money and property and is keeping it. FIFA continues to conduct trials of CFU officials and handing down punishments without explanation. The Central Americans are getting mad about someone else getting money. Their pals the Mexicans don't care that much about a few bucks but they'd sure like to replace Blazer with Justino Compean, so they'll probably complain too.

The CFU itself has no leadership, no headquarters, no money and not much of anything else except that bigassed shoulder chip they're busy nursing.

In the meantime, there are no CFU representatives on the CONCACAF ExCo and none at FIFA either which is pissing them off even more since Sepp Blatter's ridiculous Clean Up FIFA Extravaganza is being conducted with them being the only region not represented, all of which is entirely due to the fact that FIFA keeps suspending all their officeholders and they'd like to know whether, you know, there might be the slightest whiff of "corruption" someplace besides the Caribbean.

And where's FIFA in all of this? They apparently have more important business, like trying to save Sepp Blatter's Nobel Peace Prize.

Boy if I were a big time soccer reporter - maybe even one who wanted everyone to make me President of FIFA - I might be writing about some of this.

I wonder when we'll be hearing from them.