CONCACAF appointed an interim president in the wake of Jack Warner’s recent suspension, and that fella—who hails from Barbados and is called Lisle Austin—took it upon himself yesterday to “fire” Chuck Blazer, the American general secretary of CONCACAF who made allegations of bribery against Warner and former FIFA presidential candidate Mohamed bin Hammam.
Austin faxed a dismissal letter to Blazer’s Zurich hotel room, citing “inexcusable” conduct and “a gross misconduct of duty and of judgment” as reasons for the action.
Within hours, though, CONCACAF called Austin’s play an “unauthorized declaration” and published the following statement on its website:
“This attempted action was taken without any authority. Under the CONCACAF Statutes, jurisdiction over the General Secretary rests solely with the CONCACAF Executive Committee, which has taken no action. Further, a majority of the Executive Committee Members have advised Mr. Austin that he does not have the authority to take such action.
“Chuck Blazer continues as CONCACAF General Secretary and with the full authority of his office. The Confederation continues its normal operations including the Gold Cup commencing on June 5th at Cowboys Stadium in Dallas.”
Today, Austin sowed further confusion by firing back, through Warner’s media service in Port of Spain, Trinidad, with the following:
“The statement released by the CONCACAF Media Department last night as it relates to the status of the former General Secretary Chuck Blazer are not the official views of CONCACAF.
“This is yet another blatant disregard for process and procedure by the former staff member.”
Austin went on to imply that Blazer himself published the statement on CONCACAF’s website, since he “was [is?] one of the administrators of the servers used by the CONCACAF department and has access to it and presently still has access to all of the Confederation’s online service.”
Here’s an interesting compare-and-contrast exercise: the story as reported in Warner’s home country, in the Trinidad Express, versus The New York Times account.
CONCACAF’s premier tournament, the Gold Cup, kicks off on Saturday, and amid all the uncertainty, one thing’s for sure: The final trophy presentation is going to be very interesting.
Both Warner and Sepp Blatter were present for the 2009 edition.
Speaking of Blatter, see here for the latest on today’s presidential election.