FIFA now siding with Dominica FA over Warner's interference

12.02.2008

By Michael Herborn
FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke appears to have given his backing to Dominica Football Association president Dexter Francis in his battle to remain head of the DFA. Francis was allegedly the subject of a failed coup d’état at the DFA by former association president Patrick John, backed by FIFA vice-president Jack Warner.

On 15 January 2008, Warner, who aside from his role as FIFA Vice President is head of both the Caribbean Football Union and continental governing body CONCACAF, visited Francis to inform him that he was to be removed from his post at the DFA with a normalisation committee to be appointed within seven days (click here to read a report by Play the Game on the situation).

However, Francis seems to have now received fresh backing from FIFA, despite the world football governing body's initial support for Warner. Francis received a letter from Valcke on 7 February stating “On behalf of the [FIFA Associations] Committee, we would like to inform the Dominica FA and the Dominican football community (that) the Associations Committee fully recognises the democratically and rightfully-elected president Dexter Francis and his board as being in charge of the Football Association and the organisation of football in Dominica,” reports the Trinidad and Tobago Express.

The committee was chaired by FIFA Vice-President, Geoff Thompson of England. Thompson took up the position after Scottish candidate John McBeth was forced to resign after being accused of racism by Warner, amongst others, over suggestions that corruption in African and Caribbean football was a serious issue.

The announcement came just one day after a statement on the FIFA website, which can be viewed here, continued to describe the situation in Dominica as ‘untenable’, though failed to specify any further steps that the committee would be taking.

However, the Express reports that the letter from Valcke states that both Francis and Patrick John will be invited to Zurich to try and bring about a solution to the crisis.

It is reported by Scotland’s Sunday Herald that Patrick John, a former Prime Minister of Dominica, was agitating for the removal of Francis, in a bid to take back his post as president of the Dominican Football Association.

John is no stranger to coups, having been sentenced to prison for 12 years in 1981 over an attempt to topple the Dominican government with the help of the Klu Klux Klan. He was released in 1990, and took up the position of DFA president shortly afterwards. In 2007, Jack Warner inducted John into the CONCACAF Hall of Fame for his services to football.

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