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Corneal says Champagne best for football

Friday, February 26, 2016


Although UEFA secretary general Gianni Infantino appears to be in a two-way battle with Sheik Salman Bin Ebrihim Al Khalif, in the FIFA Presidential election today in Zurich, Alvin Corneal, a technical advisor at the world governing body, feels that Jerome Champagne is the  man whom the region ought to have thrown its support behind.

Apart from the pair, Infantino will also face Prince Ali Hussein and Tokyo Sexwale to head the governing body for world football. 

Corneal, who wears a number of caps in the sport, from ex player to coach, commentators, instructor and now advisor believes Champagne, a Frenchman, has what it takes to take the sport further. “He is passionate about the sport and has the will to stamp out corruption within it, a stance he made at the last election in which he pulled out of the race in the midst of widespread allegations of corruption” Corneal stated. 

Corneal noted that the sport has been mired in corruption and politics which have led to its current state. He was adamant that none of the other candidates appear genuine in their manifestos. 

Of main concern is the benefit that Caribbean islands and the Concacaf will gain from the result today, saying as he examined the manifestos he was sure that only Champagne will ensure that all member countries  receive assistance, both financially and otherwise. 

According to Corneal: “I think all those other countries have become bitter with the Caribbean and Concacaf because of desperate attempts by Blatter—who was suspended by the FIFA, along with Michele Platini —the UEFA president after being found guilty of wrongdoings by a FIFA Independent Ethics Committee, to ensure that poorer countries were assisted with their development.   

Countries were initially given US$500, 000 subvention but this amount was increased to US$750, 000 to include both men and women’s football. However this will not be given to the T&T Football Association which is being led by David John-Williams after FIFA ordered that accounts of the association’s books be submitted if it were to receive the funding. Corneal believes the entire Concacaf and Caribbean faced being sidelined if anyone else but Champagne should emerge victorious today. 

T&TFA president David John-Williams was reported as saying he supported Infantino but Corneal said such a decision will have more consequences than benefits. “It was a decision that could hurt Caribbean football. If all islands are being made to vote independently, it would mean we would lost our bargaining power in voting which people such as Jack Warner and others fought for in the past,” Corneal said. 

Contacted Warner said he was not interested in what happens at the elections. “I do not watch, go, or even speak about football after spending almost 30 years in the sport, and to be treated the way I was,” Warner said.