Following a three hour 8th Regular Congress of the Football Federation of Belize on Saturday, it was revealed that long MIA Senior Vice-President Rawell Pelayo would not be expelled from the federation, but would be allowed to tender his resignation and make a graceful exit.
The decision was announced by FFB President Ruperto Vicente, who told the media that “Mr. Pelayo is a member of the football family and we want to treat every member of our football family with respect. We want to give Mr. Pelayo a chance to submit his resignation, which he has indicated that he will submit that resignation.”
It’s a generous offer from the FFB, since the guidelines of that federation dictate that once a person has been charged criminally for an offense, he can no longer serve as an executive member. Pelayo has been gone from Belize for 21 months, in US federal custody in New York, after he was seized in July 2013 as he attempted to check through Houston to join Team Belize at the Gold Cup.
Very little information has been forthcoming since then, and the arrival of Pelayo into the country on April 7th 2015, last week, came as a surprise. Court documents obtained by the Reporter have revealed that in June 2014 Pelayo pleaded guilty to conspiracy to violate US narcotics laws. He revealed in Court that he facilitated a transaction between a drug dealer and a drug buyer which would have resulted in the trafficking of 500 grams of cocaine into the US. Pelayo was sentenced to two years in prison for the offense and after serving some of that sentence, was deported to Belize.
No timeline has been set for Pelayo’s resignation to be submitted, but it is expected that it will happen soon.
Meanwhile, the FFB has very pressing questions to answer where finances are concerned. According to FFB President Ruperto Vicente, the federation was unable to provide a proper audit of the finances used in the Gold Cup, since federal authorities had seized financial documents including check stubs when they detained Pelayo in Houston. Vicente says he has not been able to speak to Pelayo since he returned to inquire about the documents, but if he is able to get them the FFB will, as it is obligated to do, provide a comprehensive financial audit.
Whenever Pelayo chooses to submit his resignation, the FFB will call another meeting to chart the path forward in the selection of somebody to replace him.