CFU gives reasons

Date Published: 
Jamaica Gleaner

J.F.F. Criticises Shifting Of Juvenile Tourney

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Thurs. (CANA)

THE SECRETARY of the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) has been explaining the reasons behind the CFU's decision to shift the venue of its 1980 juvenile (youth) finals from Jamaica to Martinique.

The Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) has criticised the decision saying it was done without proper consultation and said this Federation still intended to stage the tournament/

CFU Secretary Austin Warner, said he had great difficulty in getting Jamaican football authorities to say whether they could host the tournament, originally scheduled for August 25. It now takes place in Martinique from December 18 to 25.

Mr. Warner told CANA, that since July, John Alleyne, a CFU executive member has gone to Jamaica to observe how preparations for the tournament were proceeding.

Warner said that Alleyne was told by the JFF officials, that a lack of finance was hampering preparations for the tournament and could result in them not hosting the series.

Following hurricane Allen, which hit parts of Jamaica in early August, Mr. Warner said that CFU cabled the JFF inquiring what the position was.

The CFU Secretary said that no fewer than seven cables were sent to Jamaica, during that period and when no reply was received "we had to cable qualifying finalists — Suriname, Guadeloupe, Martinique and Puerto Rico — informing them of the postponement since the Jamaican authorities simply refused to reply."

He further stated that when he visited that island last week, no official of the JFF was at the airport to meet him.

Mr. Warner claimed that when he did get in contact with the JFF President Lincoln Sutherland, they were informed by a senior officer in the Ministry of External Affairs that he could not assure the CFU that the political violence now sweeping Jamaica would stop following the elections." Warner further claims that the official's statements were underscored by Mr. Sutherland.

Mr. Warner said that the Jamaican official, went so far as to suggest that if the tournament was shifted to Martinique the officials of Martiniquan football should at least pay one way airfares for a Jamaican team.

"The CFU is now in serious financial trouble, one of the crucial issues affecting the efficient running of the union's competitions," he said.

The December finals will be contested among six nations — Suriname, Guadeloupe, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Puerto Rico and defending champions Martinique — the finals will be preceded by the CFU's annual congress, which will discuss among other things, finance.