THE?PRESIDENT of the Suriname Football Association received a gift of US$40 000 after a meeting with Asian Football Confederation chief Mohamed bin Hammam, and was told the cash came from the Caribbean Football Union (CFU), he said on Thursday.
FIFA is investigating events surrounding the meeting after allegations were made of bribery. Trinidadian Jack Warner, president of the CFU and CONCACAF, has been suspended by FIFA’s ethics committee along with bin Hammam, pending a full investigation.
The Puerto Rican Football Federation has also confirmed receiving money and, like Suriname, has offered to give it back.
Suriname FA president Louis Giskus, who is co-operating with FIFA’s inquiry, told Reuters that he received gifts of a projector and a laptop along with a brown envelope containing US$40 000.
“We have told FIFA about the gifts. The money is in our bank account. After we received the gifts, we decided not to use the gifts and we will keep the money in the bank until FIFA give us indication what to do,” he said.
“We were told that the projector and the laptop were from CONCACAF and the money was from the CFU,” Giskus said.
He said the gifts were distributed by CFU official Jason Sylvester, who has also been suspended by FIFA.
“I asked Jason Sylvester what the money was for and he said it was for the development of football in Suriname.”
Giskus said his organisation was fully co-operating with FIFA’s investigation and would hand the money over to FIFA if asked.
He said at no stage was it suggested the money came from bin Hammam.
“In that case we certainly wouldn’t have accepted that. After we heard about the things that happened we decided we would not use the gifts,” he said.
“We are a small association but we have high principles about these things.”
While Suriname and Puerto Rico have confirmed receiving the cash and the Bahamas has stated it turned down the offer of money, others including the Barbados Football Association and the Jamaica Football Federation have denied receiving or being offered any such payments.
Meanwhile, deposed acting CONCACAF president Lisle Austin vowed to restore order to the governing body for the game in the North, Central American and Caribbean and is seeking FIFA’s assistance.
In a statement on Thursday, Austin said some CONCACAF executive members had no respect for the statutes of the organization and no regard for the rights and interests of the members at large.
“I will not stand idly by while this happens and hope, through FIFA intervention or other means, to restore order to CONCACAF as soon as possible,” he stated. (Reuters/CMC)