CONCACAF suspends its acting president
CONCACAF has suspended acting president Lisle Austin for alleged
rule violations, drawing an angry response from Austin who claimed
on Saturday the action was ”illegal.”
Austin took control of the federation representing North and
Central America and the Caribbean after longtime leader Jack Warner
was suspended on Sunday by world football’s governing body over
bribery allegations along with fellow FIFA executive committee
member Mohamed bin Hammam.
The corruption claims were reported to FIFA by CONCACAF
secretary general Chuck Blazer, who Austin tried to remove from the
position in retaliation for turning on Warner.
CONCACAF’s executive committee quickly rejected Austin’s move,
ruling that he lacked the power to fire Blazer.
”Lisle Austin has been provisionally banned from all football
activities within CONCACAF and at the national level by a majority
of the CONCACAF Executive Committee members for apparent
infringement of the CONCACAF statutes,” the New York-based
governing body said in a statement. ”Notice of this suspension is
being sent to FIFA to be extended worldwide.”
CONCACAF is also asking FIFA to extend Austin’s suspension to
football duties worldwide until his full hearing July 13.
Vice president Alfredo Hawit has been appointed CONCACAF’s
”We are clearly passing through a difficult time,” Hawit said
in a statement released by CONCACAF. ”However, I steadfastly
believe that CONCACAF will overcome these challenges and reach even
However, Austin claimed that anyone dealing with the Honduran
would be ”implicating themselves into illegal activities.”
A statement from Austin’s office in the Caribbean insisted that
the actions taken in New York and announced by the official
CONCACAF media department were ”illegal” and contravene several
It said only Austin has the power to chair meetings of the
”It necessarily follows that if the president did not convene
or did not chair any meeting of the executive committee that any
actions taken or decisions reached at said meeting are not only
unenforceable but are ultra vires (invalid),” the statement
Austin said his CONCACAF colleagues denied him a hearing to
”Mr. Austin is both shocked and disheartened that the online
publications of the Confederation are once again being employed to
wage a war against the Office of the acting president, a war in
which only the Confederation and its members will continue to
suffer,” the statement from the Barbados-native’s office said.
The provisional ban applies to Austin’s activities with CONCACAF
and in his native Barbados.
Before his suspension, Austin tried to sever CONCACAF’s
relationship with John P. Collins, a former federal prosecutor who
investigated Blazer’s allegations and prepared the report for FIFA.
Collins represents CONCACAF, and also sits on FIFA’s legal
Collins’ signature is on the notice of Austin’s suspension.
The announcement comes one day before the start of the Gold Cup,
CONCACAF’s premier event. The tournament is being played in 13
cities across the United States, and the winner will earn a spot in
the 2013 Confederations Cup.
Warner and bin Hammam were suspended by FIFA after Blazer
accused them of offering Caribbean officials $40,000 each in
exchange for their votes in last Wednesday’s presidential election.
Bin Hammam had been the only challenger to Sepp Blatter, who was
elected unopposed to a fourth term.
AP Sports Writers Rob Harris in London and Graham Dunbar in
Geneva contributed to this report.