CONCACAF suspends acting president Austin

Acting CONCACAF president Lisle Austin has been suspended by the

continental federation for allegedly violating rules.

The provisional ban applies to Austin’s activities with CONCACAF

and in his native Barbados. CONCACAF, which represents North and

Central America and the Caribbean, is also asking FIFA to extend

Austin’s suspension to soccer duties worldwide until his full

hearing July 13.

CONCACAF vice president Alfredo Hawit of Honduras is now the

acting president.

”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

greater heights.”

The suspension drew and angry response Saturday from Austin, who

claimed in a statement that the action was ”illegal.”

”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

said.

CONCACAF did not say what Austin did to merit the suspension,

which took effect Thursday. But he tried to remove Chuck Blazer as

secretary general in retaliation for Blazer’s bribery allegations

against longtime CONCACAF leader Jack Warner and fellow FIFA

executive committee member Mohamed bin Hammam. CONCACAF’s executive

committee quickly rebuffed Austin’s move, saying he lacked the

power to remove Blazer.

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.

Austin also 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 committee.

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, the all-important World Cup

tune-up.