Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Calling for the resignation of the Welsh FA's chief executive Jonathan Ford

Jonathan Ford of the Welsh FA did not support the motion tabled by David Bernstein of the English FA to postpone the FIFA presidential election. I feel that this shows that the Welsh FA will sit idle when corruption could be taking place and as a Welshman I feel this is unacceptable and have written to him asking for his resignation. The letter is below. Please read and then re-send the letter (except the last paragraph) so we can put him in an uncomfortable position and hopefully force his hand. Thank you.

To Jonathan Ford (Chief Executive of the Welsh FA),

I am writing to discuss the unsuccessful proposal put forward by David Bernstein to delay FIFA’s presidential election on June 1st in the light of various and widespread corruption allegations against members of the executive committee which led to the suspension of four executive members in the past 6 months. In my view, and many others across the footballing community, I felt that the vote should have been delayed until all the allegations could have been investigated properly by an independent body outside of the FIFA ‘family’.

I will start by discussing the allegations leveled at members of the executive committee which has led to their suspension. Firstly I will discuss the cash-for-votes committee members who were suspended just before the voting took place for the hosting of the 2018 and 2022 world cups. These members were Amos Adamu and Reynald Temarii from Nigeria and Tahiti respectively. Both of these were caught trying to take bribes for their votes in a Sunday Times sting. They were suspended from voting and given fines which in this case and with the evidence presented was the right decision. However the ethics committee chairman Claudio Sulser criticized the Sunday Times for being ‘sensationalist’ despite using this evidence to suspend the members. This, I feel, shows the problem with not having an outside, independent body that can investigate corruption within the organization. The evidence submitted was overwhelming and therefore Sulser had no choice whatsoever but to suspend the two members, however calling the investigative journalists ‘sensationalist’ when they have helped rid FIFA of corruption seems to highlight the attitude of many of FIFA members who dislike criticism and want to keep it a closed shop. One must ask the question, what do they have to hide? If there is ‘no crisis in FIFA’ as Mr. Blatter keeps telling us then why do his members seem to treat outside intrusion or criticism with distain and denial? I ask you to really push for an outside body to properly investigate FIFA so that the head of the worldwide game can be cleaned up and there can be a clean break from the current insular climate. Football is a game for everyone. Let everyone see how it is run.

More recently the opposing candidate in the FIFA presidential election Mohammed Bin Hammam and FIFA vice-president Jack Warner were both suspended following further allegations this time leveled from Chuck Blazer the Concacaf general secretary. Chuck Blazer’s whistle blowing led to an attempt to sack him from Concacaf president Lisle Austin which was blocked by the executive committee as they said the sacking was ‘unauthorized’. Austin tried to sack Blazer due to Blazer revealing corruption in FIFA. Austin said that Blazer’s actions were, ‘inexcusable and a gross misconduct of duty and judgment’. Quite how Austin believes that revealing attempted bribery is in any way ‘a gross misconduct of duty and judgment’ is beyond me. It beggars belief in fact. If he is the president of Concacaf he should resign due to his comments and I urge you to put pressure on Mr. Austin to do so as his position is now untenable due to his brazen support of corruption within FIFA.

So, we come to the reasons why the vote should have been delayed. Mr. Bernstein asked for a delay to the vote for two reasons. Firstly due to, ‘a concern, that a series of allegations relating to FIFA ExCo [Executive committee] Members made it difficult to support either candidate.’ This is in reference to the points made above. Due to these scandals it is difficult to trust Mr. Blatter when he says there is nothing wrong. He said that before Mr. Adamu and Mr. Temarii were suspended and before Mr. Bin Hammam and Mr. Warner were also suspended. If Mr. Blatter is so incompetent that he did not know about these allegations then he should not be in office. If he knew about the allegations and did not take any action then he should not be in office. It is his business to know and deal with them. If he makes no attempt to look for corruption unless it is waved in his face then he won’t find any. Also due to these allegations it makes it difficult to accept that there is no longer any corruption in FIFA, therefore the vote should have been delayed so that an independent body could have been called in to investigate until FIFA was whiter than white. As this has not been the case it leaves FIFA open to criticism and lingering doubts to the creditability of the organization as a whole.

Mr. Bernstein’s other concern was for the overall transparency of the organization and the seeming lack of accountability. This I feel is problem area. Pol Pot the Cambodian dictator who murdered millions of his own people said that, ‘secrecy is the key to staying in power.’ Could this be the case with FIFA? Without transparency and accountability throughout all levels of the organization it seems more and more as if there is something to hide within the walls of FIFA. If there is nothing to hide then let the world see that.

By not supporting the motion that would have postponed the presidential election I feel that the Welsh FA have been complicit in harboring the image of FIFA as a corrupt organization (whether this is true or not). Due to this fact I therefore feel that your position as the chief executive of the Welsh FA is untenable and I am asking you to resign with immediate effect. I would have hoped that any self respecting Welshman would want to distance themselves from any hint of corruption but by not supporting Mr. Bernstein’s motion I feel that you have shown that you are not strong enough to take a strong stance against corruption and stand up to other FIFA members for the good of world football.
I will also be publishing this letter on my blog, sending a copy to all the major newspapers and also the Football Supporters Federation to try to put pressure on you to resign. I will of course accept any reply that you can give and if you wish this reply to remain private and not be put in the public domain then please write that in your reply.

I look forward to your reply,

Yours sincerely,

Neil Bellis.

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