Regional football heads in spat

Caribbean Football Union President, Randy Harris. Photo by George Alleyne
Caribbean Football Union President, Randy Harris.
Photo by George Alleyne

Caribbean football leadership’s old face, Jack Warner, and new face, Randy Harris, recently had a clash of words over whether the regional organisation is properly managed.

In fact Warner, who was unceremoniously removed from the post of Caribbean Football Union (CFU) president and other posts amid corruption accusations in 2011, went as far as to contend the body that is supposed to govern regional football “doesn’t exist anymore”.

Trinidadian Warner is a once dominant figure in Caribbean football who became CFU president in 1990, then also took presidency of Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) and was in the FIFA executive committee since 1983, rising to the vice-presidency before being banned from football in disgrace.

Barbadian Harris, on the other hand, was elected to the CFU presidency in 2018 and continues to hold the position today.

Warner who is now fighting deportation to the USA where the Justice Department wants him to answer wire fraud, racketeering and money-laundering charges has rarely commented on Caribbean football since his fall from grace, but let known his opinions in a recent interview on a Trinidadian TV programme, ‘ViewPoint’.

“I look back with a certain amount of pride at the legacy I left,” he said, adding, “when I look around and see what it has become today … I am happy that I’m no longer in football”.

“Football has declined in ways unimaginable.” Moving on to refer to his CFU presidency he said, “in those days it was something you looked up to”.

“When last you heard anything about the Caribbean Football Union; where is it; who are its officers; when last it had an election?” he asked.

“How come overnight the Union is dead? There is not a single thing about the Union for the last eight years,” he asserted.

But responding in the ‘Barbados TODAY’ newspaper Harris countered, CFU is “well-run”.

Harris, whose 2018 election in itself answered one of Warner’s questions, said, “also, there have been three CFU elections since 2012”.

Harris, who is also a CONCACAF vice-president, added, “we always are up-to-date, and we have been audited every year for quite a while even before I was in, so I really don’t understand the statement. I don’t know where he is getting his information from but it is very incorrect.”