Who are the candidates to become Caribbean football’s next boss? With the election only a couple of weeks away, I take a closer look…
The Caribbean Football Union (CFU) presidential election will take place on 23 July – exactly two weeks today – in Miami, USA. The sub-regional body’s officials and representatives will congregate to decide on who they feel is the best person to take Caribbean football forward.
So, who are the candidates?
Gordon Derrick – Incumbent CFU President and General Secretary of the Antigua & Barbuda FA (ABFA)
Background? Derrick has been CFU President for four years – having taken over from the infamous Jack Warner – and General Secretary of the ABFA for 12 years. Arguably one of the most important things he’s implemented during the last 48 months has been having Caribbean Cup matches played on FIFA dates. This was brought in for the 2014 competition and has enabled countries to call up their best players from abroad, as a result raising the overall quality of the spectacle. On a club level, he was the chairman of the now-defunct Antigua Barracuda FC which folded two years ago due to stadium problems and financial issues. Away from football administration, Derrick is a director of of the Antigua Commercial Bank based in St John’s. He is well-educated: holding a Bachelor of Science Degree in Mechanical Engineering from Florida Institute of Technology and a Master of Science Degree in Business Administration from the University of the West Indies.
Controversy? Along with virtually every other Caribbean official at the time, Derrick was involved in the 2011 CFU cash-for-votes scandal at the Hyatt Regency in Trinidad’s capital, Port of Spain. He was reprimanded and fined 300 CHF (Swiss Franc) by FIFA’s Ethics Committee. But he wasn’t banned like other officials were. In April earlier this year, Derrick was forced to exit the CONCACAF presidential race after failing integrity checks carried out by FIFA. Apparently he had passed CONCACAF’s integrity checks but FIFA’s Independent Audit and Compliance chief Domenico Scala believed Derrick’s involvement in the aforementioned cash-for-votes scandal and alleged misuse of FIFA development funding were sufficient for him to be ruled out. Derrick protested the decision without any luck. Even more recently, Derrick has complained to CONCACAF boss Victor Montagliani about the way in which recent Caribbean Pro League meetings have been set up.
Prospects? His time at the top of the table is probably up. The tide seems to be turning against him.
David John-Williams – Trinidad & Tobago FA (TTFA) President and owner of W Connection
Background? John-Williams was appointed as TTFA President in November last year, albeit in reported controversial circumstances. He’s the owner of W Connection – founded in 1999 – which is one of the biggest clubs in Trinidad & Tobago and indeed the Caribbean. The Savonetta Boys are regular qualifiers for the CONCACAF Champions League which they’ll be competing in once again for the 2016/17 campaign. John-Williams has long been a Caribbean Pro League advocate and believes such a league could have a major influence on the evolution of Caribbean football.
Controversy? It was reported by the Wired 868 website that John-Williams won the TTFA election illegitimately and some people think the voting process should be done again. He’s been accused of ‘selling out the Caribbean’ and been labelled as a ‘new Jack Warner’.
Prospects? Pretty good as things stand. John-Williams is seemingly in the driving seat.
Hillaren Frederick – US Virgin Islands FA (USVI) President
Background? Frederick was re-elected as USVIFA President in June last year. During his reign, the US Virgin Islands have received their first FIFA Goal Project – an Administrative Headquarters – which was visited by the now-disgraced Jeffrey Webb. He’s overseen the development of coaching in the US Virgin Islands, too, with the support of US Soccer.
Controversy? Similarly to Derrick, Frederick was also involved in the cash-for-votes scandal. He was reprimanded and issued a 300 CHF fine by FIFA’s relevant authorities. He is perhaps better known, though, for effectively ruining David Nakhid’s FIFA presidential bid having made two votes – one for Nakhid and one for another candidate. The minimum amount of votes needed to become an official candidate was five and Nakhid ended up with one less as the USVIFA’s vote was rendered invalid. The other candidate was in the clear as even with one vote taken away, they still had the necessary minimum of five, whereas Nakhid didn’t and his campaign ended rather abruptly. Nobody really knows whether this was a genuine mistake on Frederick’s part or something a little more meaningful than that.
Prospects? Perhaps a dark horse but it’s difficult to see him being a more popular choice than John-Williams as things stand.
We’ll have to wait and see what unfolds.
By Nathan Carr