By Marion Ali, Assistant Editor
Three members of the Football Federation of Belize’s (FFB) executive were within their right to suspend their President, Ruperto Vicente, but because they erred in not giving him enough time to call a meeting to discuss his suspension, their disciplinary action will not stand.
That was the ruling when legal advisors of (FIFA) visited Belize last weekend to sort out the dispute between Vicente and the three members of the executive: First Vice President Sergio Chuc, Cruz Gamez, and Marlon Kuylen.
In a sit-down with reporters in Belmopan on Tuesday, Chuc said the FIFA attorneys found that the FFB had the authority to suspend Vicente, but they had erred in carrying out a part of their decision. He said time was the factor. They should have given Vicente 21 days within which to call a meeting that would have decided his fate. Instead they called the meeting themselves after only 15 days had expired. Because of this technical blunder, Vicente remains as FFB President until the elections are held in the next few weeks.
Chuc said he believes the message has been sent that the executive does have the authority to suspend the President if the executive isof the view that the President has been abusing his authority and making single-handed decisions without their input and approval. He shared that FIFA has also written to Vicente to inform him that the executive was not in agreement with decisions he was making. Chuc added that the three executive members will no longer pursue Vicente’s suspension because it will have the appearance that they are seeking power.
He revealed that the executive had two issues they wanted to discuss during the meeting with Vicente if that meeting had taken place. The first was the election process going on in the districts. The second issue was about the suspension of the President
Vicente had disputed his suspension, claiming that the executive does not have the authority to suspend him as President. That argument was quickly clarified by FIFA officials who visited Belize. Chuc pointed out that a precedent has already been set when the FFB executive had suspended past vice president, Rawell Pelayo, who had been detained in the US on drug-related issues.
Meanwhile, FFB elections are set for April 30, instead of the date, April 16, which Vicente had set. Chuc said he will likely lead his two colleagues to run as a slate against Vicente, with Chuc as president.