No solution in sight as CONCACAF political strife escalates
NEW YORK — Just days away from the start of the CONCACAF Gold Cup, the turmoil that has rocked the confederation in recent weeks continues.
On Wednesday, acting CONCACAF president Lisle Austin accused the regional body’s general secretary, Chuck Blazer, of “waging war.”
Austin, who hails from Barbados, has taken over from CONCACAF president Jack Warner, who has been suspended by FIFA while allegations of bribery are being investigated following a report submitted by Blazer.
In a 24-hour period, Austin has announced the firing of Blazer and the hiring of an accounting firm to conduct a “forensic” audit of the CONCACAF books over the last five years.
However, Blazer disputes Austin’s power to remove him from his duties, publishing a statement on CONCACAF’s official website and via CONCACAF’s media department that cited the organization’s statutes.
Austin countered on Wednesday.
"The statement released by the CONCACAF media department last night as it relates to the status of the former general secretary Chuck Blazer are not the official views of CONCACAF," Austin said in a statement on Wednesday. "The response from the CONCACAF media department is not only the fruit of illegal actions on the part of Mr. Blazer, who is no longer the general secretary of this confederation, but is tantamount to trespassing since, the unauthorized use of CONCACAF's services and equipment by non-CONCACAF staff is unlawful.
"It saddens me to note that Mr. Blazer is using the online publications of a confederation of which he is no longer employed to wage a war against the office of the acting president."
The back-and-forth coincides with Sepp Blatter’s election for his fourth term as FIFA president. Blatter ran unopposed after Blazer’s report of bribery allegations also resulted in the suspension of onetime challenger Mohamed bin Hammam of Qatar. Bin Hammam eventually pulled out of the race.