Jeff Webb confirmed as CONCACAF President
Jeffrey Webb, president of the Cayman Islands Football Association was confirmed as president of CONCACAF earlier this week at the federation’s congress in Budapest, Hungary. Mr Webb was the sole candidate for the post and going into the congress, had received the nominations of some 29 of the 40 member countries in the North and Central America and Caribbean football body.
Mr Webb has over 20 years in leadership positions in football, as President of the CIFA, FIFA Executive Committee (Observer), Chairman of the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) Normalisation Committee, member of the FIFA Transparency and Compliance Committee, Deputy Chairman of the FIFA Internal Audit Committee, and Chairman of the CONCACAF Youth Committee.
Mr Webb succeeds Austin Jack Warner, the FIFA vice president and head of CONCACAF who resigned last year amid a “cash for votes” scandal that rocked Caribbean football amid allegations of bribery, involving long-time Caribbean administrator, Warner, and Qatar’s Mohamed bin Hammam, who wanted to run against FIFA president Sepp Blatter at last year’s FIFA presidential election.
Mr Webb, who has been CIFA president for 21 years, will complete the four-year term of Mr Warner, who elected a sixth time to the post in May 2010 but resigned a month later after 20 years in office.
Referring to Mr Webb’s confirmation, Mr Blatter says the new CONCACAF leader is a “clear and clean” man with a presidential style. He described Mr. Webb as someone of “stature and he is an intelligent man and courageous.”
In his acceptance speech, Mr Webb stated:
“Over the last year, our mission and our vision have been blurred, from lawyers, to audit reports to compensation. We have deviated from our mission. I am here; we are here, because of our love for football.
“The passion for the game drives and motivates our every action. Our core focus must be football: its development, its growth and its ability to transform nations. We must rest and restructure our confederation.
“The events over the past year will not define and determine our destiny. We have a responsibility to ensure that history isn’t repeated.
“Let us use the events over the past year as a catalyst to promote positive change. Let’s see it as an opportunity to return to the core values of the beautiful game – the values which enchanted and sparked our love affair with this game.”
Speaking from Budapest to local talk radio on Wednesday morning, Minister of Sport, Hon Mark Scotland, said it was a good day for the Cayman Islands. He praised Mr Webb for his contribution to CIFA, noting that he had been leading the association in a positive way for many years. The Minister noted that the appointment as CONCACAF president carried with it the possibility of having part of the regional body’s office established in the Cayman Islands, and could provide other benefits such as international meetings and conferences.
The Caribbean Football Union’s congress was similarly held in Budapest this week and Cayman had another high-profile election to its executive. Canover Watson was elected as a vice president of the organisation in elections held on Tuesday. Head of Admiral Administration, a company that serves over 300 funds with over US$50 billion under its administration.
Mr Watson also received the Young Cayman Leadership Award in 2007.
Antiguan Gordon Derrick was elected president, ushering in a new era of football administration in the Caribbean. In doing so, the General Secretary of the Antigua and Barbuda Football Association, beat out challenges from Barbados Football Association president Ronald Jones, veteran Trinidad and Tobago administrator Harold Taylor and Cuba Football Association chief Luis Hernandez.
Mr Gordon’s installation as president effectively closes the chapter on the Jack Warner era of football administration, whose 21-year tenure ended in a scandal that decimated the CFU and resulted in FIFA imposing bans and suspensions on several Caribbean officials. Mr Gordon received only a reprimand.
Tuesday’s election also marked the end of the CFU Normalization Committee which had been installed by FIFA, in the wake of the scandal. Mr Webb, who headed that committee, told CFU members there were better days ahead for the organisation.
“Your faith may have been shaken but it was never eroded . Today is yet another step in our journey for stability, you may now look forward to a brighter future,” Mr Webb told the CFU members.