Cayman Islands football seeks a fresh start after corruption scandals
(WFI) CONCACAF will announce a new era in its football competitions this Wednesday in Miami. For one of its attendees, the Cayman Islands Football Association (CIFA), the event revealing details of the Nations League should also mark a fresh start. Its new president, Alfredo Whittaker, knows that his agenda at the Miami event includes restoring the credibility his country lost after the storm created by his predecessor and former CONCACAF president, Jeffrey Webb.
Webb is scheduled to be sentenced in September for his involvement in the “Fifagate” case of football’s worldwide bribery and racketeering scandal.
His arrest in 2015 created a deep crisis at CIFA. Not only was Jeffrey Webb banned for life from the country’s federation after pleading guilty of his charges, but Canover Watson, the association’s treasurer, was jailed in his country for his involvement in a separate corruption probe involving the national Health Services Authority.
Furthermore, Bruce Blake, the first vice president of CIFA, was also arrested in connection with an ongoing Cayman Islands Anti-Corruption Commission inquiry connected to CIFA’s finances in June. Blake maintains his innocence.
When Webb was arrested, Whittaker was CONCACAF referees director. Since then he has taken over as CIFA’s president.
“All the people who had some closeness with Webb were investigated,” he says. “The reality of today is a new beginning to demonstrate that there are decent people in this Federation. In my case to be elected president is an award to an honest person in football.”
CONCACAF has restored funding to CIFA, but FIFA will not follow until the federation finishes its internal audit. “Once we get that done, we will sit down with our legal team and see what’s next,” Whittaker says.
As for Blake, Whittaker said that after almost a year the Grand Cayman authorities have not found evidence to bring him to court.
Whittaker will likely be working to mend some fences at this Wednesday’s CONCACAF event in Miami. The regional body will announce the full format of its new Nations League, a Confederation-wide league for national teams which is slated to begin with qualifying play this September.
The event will include the body’s president, Victor Montagliani, his council members and the presidents and general secretaries of the 41 CONCACAF member associations. Other guests come from various governments, the world of entertainment and the international football scene.
Jeffrey Webb is to be sentenced in September (Getty Images)
Alfredo Whittaker, CIFA president (Twitter)
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