By Horace Helps | REUTERS
KINGSTON, Jamaica | Thu Jun 2, 2011 6:59pm BST
(Reuters) – The Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) has denied allegations it accepted a bribe during a meeting with suspended Asian Football Confederation president Mohamed Bin Hammam.
In a statement on Thursday, JFF president Horace Burrell said no money was offered to Jamaica to vote for Bin Hammam during last month’s meetings of the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) in Trinidad & Tobago.
«Let me state categorically the JFF was not offered, neither received any funds prior to, during or after the CFU meetings held on May 10-11 in Trinidad,» said Burrell who is acting as CFU president in the absence of the suspended Jack Warner.
Qatari Bin Hammam, who was due to stand against Sepp Blatter in this week’s FIFA presidential election before he withdrew his candidacy last Sunday and was subsequently banned by world football’s ruling body, has strongly denied any wrongdoing.
On Sunday FIFA’s ethics committee was given a report, compiled on behalf of CONCACAF general secretary Chuck Blazer, containing details of the CFU meetings and statements that cash payments were made.
The Puerto Rico Football Federation confirmed to FIFA it did receive the money and has offered to pay it back while the Bahamas Football Federation says it was offered but did not accept the cash.
Burrell’s statement followed calls by former Jamaica Prime Minister and now head of the Jamaica Premier League Clubs Association (PLCA) Edward Seaga for regional federations to declare whether or not they had been offered money at the meetings.
«To restore the integrity of the region the present leaders of the CFU must call on all the federations which received and kept the $40,000 bribe to return it forthwith or face public disclosure of the identity of these Caribbean federations which are corrupt by holding the integrity of the region to ransom,» Seaga said in a statement.
«This act of corruption involves the reputation of the Caribbean football federations and has shamed the reputation of football, much to the great sorrow of lovers of the game and other well-thinking people.»
Burrell replied by saying Seaga had overstepped the mark.
«The statement appears to have tried, found guilty and pronounced sentence on an entire region’s football associations despite the fact the competent authority to adjudicate these matters has come to no such conclusion,» said Burrell.
«In fact FIFA’s ethics committee is currently considering the matter and we await the final outcome of its investigation and due process.
«Despite this public knowledge the PLCA’s chairman has inexplicably sought to tarnish the reputations of at least 30 member associations of the CFU with what can only be described as reckless, unproven allegations and acts of corruption.
«The JFF calls for the PLCA chairman to either provide the public and indeed the FIFA ethics committee with any evidence he has to corroborate these allegations or cease to engage in this denigration of an entire region’s reputation forthwith by withdrawing this release,» added Burrell.
(Writing by Simon Evans in Miami, editing by Tony Jimenez)