Despite all odds, Ruperto Vicente remains President of the Football Federation of Belize (FFB), after a takeover attempt by fellow executive members on Thursday.
Those members made a move to suspend him from the Board and Vicente has received death threats, which he claims are related to dethroning tactics.
A meeting called late Thursday evening by FFB Second Vice President, Sergio Chuc, and executive members Marlon Kuylen and Cruz Gamez, at the Federation’s headquarters in Belmopan, tabled a request for Vicente’s suspension.
Vicente, who is currently serving his fourth year as president, is accused of making administrative decisions without the approval of the executive.
These decisions have affected the ongoing football district association elections and the tournaments that Belize’s National A Team participated in recently.
Vicente told the Reporter, “Their job is to make executive decisions. I make administrative decisions.”
Chuc countered that statement saying, “Vicente acted without the authority of the executive.”
He explained that the executive was not pleased with the manner in which Vicente awarded contracts and was further displeased with his decision to send Belize’s Futsal Team to participate in the Central American Futsal Tournament, even though the executve instructed him not to do so.
The meeting ended with Vicente boldly stating he was not suspended and Chuc explaining that the suspension is on pause until CONCACAF and FIFA’s lawyers interpret the statutes.
The matter resulted in a second meeting held with the chairmen of the Football District Associations, where some members questioned the legality of the suspension and agreed to abide by FIFA and CONCACAF’s decision.
The Reporter has confirmed that a written interpretation of the FFB statutes is expected within the next few days.
FFB’s legal advisor, Michael Peyrefitte, who is out of the country, has also been notified of the matter.
Vicente said he has the support of all district associations and the trio’s interpretation of the statutes will not stand. Chuc, on the other hand, believes that after this weekend, Vicente’s suspension will be made official.
According to Vicente, the matter is so tense, that his life has been threatened. “There had been some threats on my person so I am advised to be careful with my movements. I am no longer moving freely,” Vicente said. The threats, he said, were made via text messages, phone calls and verbally in person.
He would not reveal the name of the person or persons who made the threats but did say that is was someone from the ‘football family’.
Chuc said he was not aware of the claim. “That is a serious accusation and I hope he has something to substantiate that,” he said.
Police were present during both meetings, at Chuc’s request.
Vicente eleborated on the suspension attempt saying, “One of the things that these guys realize is that they cannot beat me in elections. They want to eliminate me so that I don’t run for the next election.”
Several district chairmen suspect that Chuc wants to become the next president of the FFB.
When asked about that allegation, Chuc responded: “If it should happen it will happen but it is not something I would lose sleep over.”
When asked if he would run for the federation’s presidency if Vicente is suspended, he said: “More than likely, but at this point I am not sure about it. After the meeting today I realized that there are a lot of people in the football family that are out for personal gain and not because they are interested in football. I am not sure if I am surrounded by the right people.”
FFB’s next election is scheduled for April 16.