(Monday, May 29, 2007) -- CONCACAF has strongly condemned recent comments of John MacBeth, a high-ranking international official who accused it and the African confederation of corruption and greed. CONCACAF president Jack Warner termed MacBeth's comments "racist."
CONCACAF, the United States' soccer federation, demanded that MacBeth, the outgoing Scottish Football Association president, resign before he was installed as a vice president of world governing body FIFA. Meanwhile, FIFA announced the position will remain vacant while the organization's ethics committee investigates MacBeth's remarks.
In comments made to reporters from several English Sunday newspapers, MacBeth also insulted FIFA president Sepp Blatter, saying he was "a tricky customer, but I suppose anyone in that position has to be because you're dealing with people who have a totally different code of ethics."
MacBeth's remarks started with him saying African representatives' ethics were different from the "fair play" attitude found in the United Kingdom.
"I know two or three (at FIFA) whom I'd want to count my fingers after shaking hands with them," MacBeth said. "If I come across corruption, I have to expose it. I must try to stay true to my beliefs and hope I don't get seduced. By and large, the four British countries know what fair play is and when we are stepping out of line. But, as soon as you hit Africa, it's a slightly different kettle of fish. They're poor nations and want to grab what they can. I presume the Caribbean is much the same. They just come at it in a different way."
CONCACAF, which includes North America, Central America and the Caribbean, quickly fired off a seven-paragraph condemnation of MacBeth's comments, including a demand he resign from his pending FIFA position.
MacBeth's "service on the executive (committee) was for the purpose of promoting the game of football at the highest level and in all regions of the world," the CONCACAF statement read. "Instead, Mr. McBeth has chosen to embarrass those British nations, all of whom have a very productive and genuine relationship with the nations of CONCACAF. Further, he has undermined himself in the eyes of the family of football. His wide-ranging, deplorable and blatant false statements and opinions demonstrate that he took a calculated risk in insulting and defaming various entities and organizations in the world of football. . .
"The executive and members of CONCACAF again stand united in stating that Mr. McBeth is not worthy of representing the British nations at FIFA, neither is he worthy of taking a seat on the FIFA Executive. We call upon the British nations to revoke immediately the appointment of Mr. McBeth.
Further, we submit that if Mr. McBeth has any honor or integrity, then he should do the honorable thing and resign his position as the nominated British Vice-President of FIFA. The members of CONCACAF call upon him to so resign."
MacBeth was to replace David Will, who served for the last 17 years in the FIFA vice presidency assigned to the United Kingdom. CONCACAF president Jack Warner, a Trinidad & Tobago citizen who is also one of seven FIFA vice presidents, reportedly has stated that the UK shouldn't have a vice presidency assigned specifically to its nations, a comment that apparently caused MacBeth to take exception.
"To a certain extent, I can understand what he's saying. It's the old British Empire stuff," McBeth said.
"The British have an attitude of fair play but sometimes the Empire didn't play fair and that's coming back on us. "For the ones that were under the Empire, it's payback time. By and large, the four British countries know what fair play is and when we're stepping out of line."
Warner responded to BBC Sport: "Why did he only mention African and Caribbean countries? To me, that smacks of racism of the worst kind. We all feel deeply insulted and we will support any moves to send him back to Scotland where he belongs."
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