Patrick John, former president of the Dominican Football Association (DFA) President and former Dominican Prime Minister, is already in the process of appealing the decision handed down last Friday by FIFA’s Ethics Committee. John has been suspended from all football-related activities for the next two years and has also been fined more than $3,200. DFA treasurer Phillippe White was also included in this latest ethics probe but was cleared of any wrongdoing. “We were very surprised with the decision to ban me for two years as it was believed that the decision to do so was taking into account irrelevant considerations,” John told the CNA. “As a result, I have decided to appeal the matter and to that effect my attorney has started the process.” John’s punishment is the harshest yet to be received by any Caribbean official from the fallout of the Mohamed Bin Hammam bribery scandal. 16 CFU officials were originally ensnared in the bribery probe concerning last May’s meeting in Trinidad; where former CFU and CONCACAF president Jack Warner allegedly offered 25 colleagues $40,000 each for their support of Mohammed Bin Hammam in his bid to oust Sepp Blatter in the FIFA presidential elections. Also included in this latest batch of CFU officials were Vincent Cassell and Tandica Hughes of Montserrat, Raymond Guishard of Anguilla, Noel Adonis of Guyana, Everton Gonsalves and Derrick Gorden of Antigua and Barbuda, Oliver Camps of Trinidad and Tobago, Lionel Haven of Bahamas, Patrick Mathurin of St. Lucia and Damien Hughes of Anguilla. The cases against Camps, Haven and Mathurin were each closed since they are no longer football officials. Hughes was found not to have committed any violation.
University professor Mark Pieth,a man relatively unknown in the world of football, has been appointed to lead the reform of football’s world governing body. Pieth, who will head FIFA’s independent Good Governance panel, will be unveiled to the media at a news conference next week where he will outline his task ahead. In 2004, Pieth was chosen by the United Nations to serve on an independent inquiry team examining alleged corruption in the Iraqi oil-for-food program. FIFA has said up to 18 members of his team, who will compile reports from four separate task forces set up by Blatter, would be identified on December 17 following the Executive Committee meeting in Tokyo. They will then be required to present their first report by next March, as part of Blatter’s two-year road to reform.
Blatter has postponed two possible round table sessions with journalists since his ill-fated remarks about handshakes settling racist disputes on the field, which prompted calls for his resignation in the UK. Addressing the media at the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) in Kuala Lumpur, he said he considered the matter as over now that he has issued a full and frank apology. “I have made my apologies and I cannot say more,” said Blatter. “Anybody still thinking that I am a racist, I am sorry to hear that. I have been working now for 37 years in FIFA and I started working in Africa. There is no discrimination in my feeling and there is no racism, nothing at all. This matter, for me, is over. I cannot say more than that. We go forward and there is zero tolerance in racism and in discrimination and zero tolerance in all activities on the field of play and outside the field of play. During my activities as FIFA President nothing surprises me, but I was very much hurt by these comments because it touched my conscience and in my conscience is the determination I have to go against any discrimination.” Asked if there was any way for disgraced former AFC head Mohamed Bin Hammam to redeem himself Blatter replied: “I am not up to comment on any decision taken by our different Committees and we will await the outcome for the next step.” Bin Hammam has launched an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) to overturn the FIFA ban and faces a race against time to clear his name by a deadline of May 31 in order to return to his previous role.
Prince Ali to press for hijab allowance
Prince Ali Bin al Hussein, FIFA’s youngest Executive Committee member and also a speaker at last October’s Leaders in Football Conference, will be campaigning for Islamic women to be allowed to wear the Hijab when competing in FIFA competitions. Only International Football Association Board (IFAB), the game’s lawmakers, can push through any changes defining clothing but Al Hussein has been asked to seek the “favourable reconsideration of the issue by the IFAB at the earliest opportunity.” The hijab has traditionally been banned by FIFA, who will allow women players to wear a cap provided it goes no further than the hairline. The demand for a review came from the Asian Football Confederation’s (AFC) Women’s Committee. Al Hussein is considered very much a modernist but some will question his intention to put the case for the hijab being allowed at next month’s FIFA Executive Committee meeting in Tokyo. “I am very pleased that the AFC executive committee has endorsed the case for reviewing the Laws of the Game in favour of allowing a safe headscarf [hijab],” read a statement from his office. “This is a crucial step forward. Our goal at the end of the day is to ensure that all women are able to play football at all levels without any barriers. I would particularly like to thank AFC vice-president Moya Dodd, who chairs the women’s committee, for her valuable work on the issue. I also look forward to working with my fellow FIFA ExCo members to present this case to my colleagues at the FIFA Executive Committee meeting in Tokyo next month.” Last year Iran’s women caused a storm when they forfeited a game – ironically against Jordan – after not being allowed to play with the full Islamic headscarf. The earliest the IFAB could consider the issue is next March.
Danny Jordaan, organiser of last year’s World Cup in South Africa, is targeting the Presidency of the Council of Southern African Football Associations (COSAFA) as he bids to re-enter football administration after a year out of the limelight. Earlier this year, Jordaan failed to secure a place on FIFA’s Executive Committee through the Confederation of African Football (CAF) when he controversially came fourth with just 10 votes amid allegations of foul play and has now decided to go for a lesser role within southern Africa. COSAFA comprises 14 member countries and according to reports Jordaan visited Harare on Tuesday to lobby support ahead of elections early next month. If elected, Jordaan, 59, pledged to try to unify the region. “We have to be stronger as a region and we have to overcome our challenges,” he was quoted as saying. Nothing is impossible even when we fought apartheid some people thought it was impossible to win over it but here we are. Zimbabwe have also had their challenges which they have managed overcome even when people doubted they would.” Jordaan, who has long held senior positions within the South African Football Association (SAFA), said he would use his influence to have major South African companies like Standard Bank, South African Breweries, MTN and Vodacom to sponsor leagues around the region.
Cole, who is on loan from Liverpool to the French champions, is not in the plans of current England coach Fabio Capello, and is unlikely to make his squad for the European Championships in Ukraine and Poland next summer. That means that the 30-year-old would be a prime contender for the Team GB football team, for which Pearce is able to pick three players over the age of 23. David Beckham is expected to be one of those three, but Cole has been in sparkling form since moving to France at the start of this season and would add both experience and class to the squad. Speaking at a press conference, Cole said: “I would love to play in the Olympics. I would be very excited because it is in London, in East London where I started my football career. I love the Olympics, I love the sport. I’ve been trying to get tickets but it is very hard so I better get playing in it.” The former West Ham United and Chelsea midfielder said that the chance to line up alongside Beckham once again was one he was keen to take, saying that he is a “fantastic player who looks after himself, a technical, top player.” With the former Manchester United and Real Madrid star looking likely to sign for Paris St Germain when his current contract with LA Galaxy expires, Cole is likely to line up against him before he finds himself on the same team as his former England team mate again.