Saturday, July 22, 2017

FFB Fires Michael Blease

Sunday, July 16, 2017, 18:49
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5Thursday, 13 July 2017 The turmoil within the Football Federation of Belize (FFB) is not over. Eighteen days after the embarrassment of an aborted ordinary congress due to a boycott, the Football Federation of Belize dismissed General Secretary Michael Blease. He has been replaced with former magistrate and prison CEO, Earl Jones, although temporarily. On Wednesday July 12th, Acting President Marlon Kuylen said “the things that we thought were wrong, it was actually worse…We see now that we have to make significant changes, and we started Monday by releasing the General Secretary.” Blease carried over from the Ruperto Vicente term and had up until 2020 on his contract. Along the way he has made many enemies but what specifically led to his immediate firing? Kuylen simply indicated that Blease’s time at the FFB had ended. “It’s not only what he did, a lot of it is what he did not do…It is alleged that he did manipulate the Electoral Committee and the Electoral Appeals Committee but the other items that were used in his dismissal far outnumber those allegations,” said Kuylen. As to whether Blease might have engaged in illegalities or irregularities, Kuylen only said, “to be honest with you, I am not pursuing it; as an Executive we are not pursuing it. We had known for a long time this day would come.” The man now in the hot seat told the media that indeed, there is a lot of negative energy surrounding the FFB currently but he will evaluate what is wrong then look for a way forward. He intends to operate transparently with an open door policy to all. There has been talk of a general purge to come in the FFB. In that regard, Kuylen has expressed concern about the FFB’s exorbitant wage bill while noting the need to streamline. He said, “we may have to dismiss others; we will see as the weeks go by.” The dismissal comes on the heels of a request from the Cayo, Corozal and Orange Walk football associations and the Premiere League of Belize for there to be an extraordinary congress on August 12th to deal with general matters like the approval of the budget. Notably though, they are calling for the dismissal of seven people including Blease, Ruperto Vicente (who is not currently an executive FFB member) and Shane Orio. According to Kuylen, based on the request, an Extraordinary Congress must be held within sixty days of the letter. They do have their work cut out for them to begin the process of identifying possible candidates to form a part of a new Electoral Committee, the Electoral Appeals Committee and to put in place an Ethics Committee. Although the election for president or vice president cannot happen at an extraordinary congress, Kuylen did clarify that indeed, since the process is starting anew, Sergio Chuc who had been previously disqualified from running for president (which is what led to the boycott of the 10th ordinary congress) is cleared to run in the future.
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