FIFA BRIBERY SCANDAL ALL eyes turned to the Bahamas when a decision by a local soccer official to "whistle-blow" on alleged corruption was at the center of the international media as exposing a scandal that threated to "tear apart" FIFA, the wealthy global body that governs the hugely-popular sport. A secret dossier on the corruption probe revealed that it was Anton Sealey, President of the Bahamas Football Association, who "led" a group of Caribbean football officials who exposed an alleged attempt by an aspiring President of the International Federation of Football Associations to bribe regional officials with $40,000 each to support his presidential bid. Qatari President of the Asian Football Confederation, Mohamed Bin Hammam, along with FIFA Vice President, Trinidadian Jack Warner, and the long-standing current President of FIFA, Sepp Blatter, were preparing to face a FIFA ethics committee hearing over the allegations. However, although investigations will go ahead against Hammam and Warner, all accusations have been dropped against Blatter. According to the corruption probe dossier seen by the Telegraph, Sealey and up to 25 Caribbean Football Union (CFU) officials were offered envelopes containing $40,000 in cash, split into four $10,000 "stacks" of $100 bills at a CFU meeting in Warner's native Trinidad on May 10-11 in an alleged effort by Bin Hammam to persuade them to vote for him in this week's FIFA presidential election. They were allegedly told "not to tell anyone about the cash, not to discuss the cash with the others and not to show anyone the money." A corruption probe was initiated after at least four of the delegates apparently refused the cash and reported the incident to FIFA executive committee member Chuck Blazer, who engaged former US federal prosecutor John P Collins to conduct a full investigation. FIFA's election bribery scandal went deeper when an additional10 more Caribbean football officials were put under investigation over an alleged plot involving former presidential candidate Mohamed bin Hammam. One of the accused is from the Bahamas Football Association, which was the original whistleblower that alerted FIFA to $40,000 cash payments being offered during bin Hammam's campaign visit to Trinidad in May. Lionel Haven was general secretary of Bahamas football then, when Warner summoned his Caribbean Football Union members to a two-day conference to meet the Qatari candidate. FIFA went on to investigate 10 officials from six countries, as part of an investigation being conducted by the agency of former FBI director Louis Freeh. Officials under investigation: Raymond Guishard, Damien Hughes (both Anguilla), Everton Gonsalves, Derrick Gordon (both Antigua and Barbuda), Lionel Haven (Bahamas, Caribbean Football Union), Patrick John, Philippe White (both Dominica), Vincent Cassell, Tandica Hughes (both Montserrat), Oliver Camps (Trinidad and Tobago) Bin Hammam denies bribery and is appealing his life ban at the Court of Arbitration for Sport. Warner resigned all his football positions after 28 years in FIFA's high command to avoid an investigation. FIFA's election bribery scandal went deeper on Wednesday, as 10 more Caribbean football officials were put under investigation over an alleged plot involving former presidential candidate Mohamed bin Hammam. NATIONAL STADIUM HANDOVER Years of anticipation reached its climax for both the Commonwealth of the Bahamas and the People's Republic of China as the dream of the state-of-the- art national stadium came to fruition. With construction completed, the official handover ceremony marked the completion of the monumental project after roughly six years of planning and execution. The more than $30 million national stadium is considered to be one of the most unique structures of its kind in the region. The stadium comprises 190,452 square feet. It has 15,000 fixed seats, including sky boxes and a number of seats modified to accommodate disabled spectators. The western grandstand and eastern stand have 12,000 and 3,000 seats respectively. The stadium, which has a state-of-the-art security surveillance system, has all required audio/visual equipment installed, two megatrons, and a number of purpose-designed meeting rooms, offices and suites. The running track will be IAAF certified and the in-field is FIFA certified. According to the Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham, the construction of the stadium itself served as a boost to the economy with millions of dollars generated, an impact which will continue to grow as the stadium is put to use. "Goods and services provided by some 113 Bahamian entities included sourcing raw materials - cement, fill, sand, rock, blocks, and concrete, fuel, paint, and electrical supplies, small tools and construction material, heavy equipment rental and trucking. "In all, some $9.5 million was injected into the Bahamian economy over the two-year construction period," he said. Work got started on the stadium in March, 2009, and has been going very well. "With the completion of the new stadium we think it will give us an opportunity to increase our profile in the region from a hosting standpoint," BAAAs President Mike Sands said, "With the talent we produce on the track it's only fitting that the Bahamas is able to play host to our competitors in the region and around the world." Thus far the Carifta Games selection committee has received offers of interest from the Bahamas and Bermuda. The BAAAs has also officially expressed interest to the IAAF to host the 2011 edition of the World Youth Championships. Already the government has had conversations with Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) about hosting World Cup 2014 qualifying matches here in the Bahamas at the new stadium, as well as friendly matches while the BAAA, who are expected to be the primary beneficiaries of the new stadium, is expected to host top flight events in the near future. TREVOR BARRY'S WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP MEDAL The Bahamas continued its major prescence on the international athletics scene as another high jumper moved to the forefront in the biggest meet of the year. From the brink of elimination in the preliminaries to a leap of acceleration in the final of the men's high jump, Trevor Barry added the IAAF World Championships' bronze medal to his growing list of achievements. The 28-year-old leapt to a personal best (PB) of 2.32 metres or 7-feet, 7 1/4-inches to ascend the medal podium for the Bahamas' first medal at the 13th IAAF World Championships in Daegu, South Korea. It was also just the third medal in the event. In 1995, Troy Kemp paved the way with the gold in Gothenberg, Sweden, and Donald Thomas matched that feat in Osaka, Japan, in 2007. Thomas, who has been the king of the hill in the Bahamas since he emerged on the scene in 2007, was entered in the 13-man field after three lucky competitors, including Barry, got in based on their tied position after the first 10 automatically qualified in the preliminaries. Like he did in the preliminaries when he had a clean sheet in his first four attempts until he missed all three at 2.31m (7-7), Barry cleared his first two heights at 2.20m (7-2 1/2) and 2.25m (7-4 1/2) before he passed at 2.29 (7-6), his previous best. He then surged over 2.32m (7-7 1/4) for his new PB and a temporary first-place lead. That was until American Jesse Williams and Russia's Aleksey Dmitrik both passed him when they both sailed over 2.35m (7-8 1/2) on their first and second tries respectively for the gold and silver. Barry missed all three tries, but his progression was better than the remaining four competitors at that point to secure the bronze. "I just came off my personal best and I got a medal doing it, so I'm pleased and happy to win the only medal for the Bahamas here," he said. After watching Thomas bow out at 2.20m (7-2 1/4), Barry said he knew that the pressure was on for him to step it up another notch. "I knew I was representing my country and I think I went out and did just that," he said, "I'm just happy. This is the pinnacle of my career. I'm just happy to have the medal." VALENTINO KNOWLES' PAN AM MEDAL Valentino Knowles made history by becoming the first Bahamian fighter to win a Pan American medal. Fighting in the men's light welterweight division or 64 kilogram division, Knowles came from behind to pull off a (17-17) - 61:44 decision over Fabrian Maidana of Argentina to secure the first medal for the Bahamas at the Pan Am Games in Guadalajara, Mexico. Having also secured the distinction of winning the Bahamas' first medal in boxing at the four-yearly games, Knowles now advanced to the semifinal where lost to Yoelvis Jesus Hernandez of Venezuela. Knowles, trailed 6-4 in the first round but bounced back to take the second set 7-5. He and Maidana fought to a 6-6 draw in the third round as they finished even at 17-17. But because of his aggressiveness in the second round, Knowles was awarded the victory. Coach Andre Seymour said he was quite impressed with Knowles' performance and is confident that he will prevail. "We have never had a boxer win a medal at the Pan Am Games. He's the first boxer," said Seymour, a former outstanding amateur boxer who failed in his bid to win a medal. "It was rough. Valentino had to come from behind after falling behind by two points, but in the second round he went ahead to tie it at 11-11. He just kept the pressure on his opponent." JUNIOR TRACK AND FIELD ATHLETES SURGE Anthonique Strachan of St Augustine's College and Club Monica won the Austin Sealy Award at the Carifta Games in Montego Bay. She tied Veronica Campbell-Brown's 200m with a 22.93sec clocking. Strachan finished second in the Central American and Caribbean Sr Championships in a time of 22.90sec, her personal best. At the Pan American Jr Championships in Miramar, Florida, Strachan bettered her personal best with a 22.70sec clocking for the victory, breaking the championships record. At that time it was the best junior performance in the world. At the end of 2011 it is the second best junior time of 2011. At the International Amateur Athletic Federation's World Youth Championships in Lilli, France, team Bahamas captured a record four medals, including three gold and a bronze to finish fourth in the medal standings and 15th on the placing table. It was the most medals won by the Bahamas at an international meet since 2001 IAAF World Championships in Edmonton, Canada. The team was led by gold medalists Shaunae Miller, Stephen "Dirty" Newbold and Latario Collie-Minns, with his twin brother, bronze medalist Lathone Collie-Minns. Miller recieved further recognition and has established herself as the consecutive IAAF World Youth and World Junior women's 400 metre champion. The University of Georgia bound quarter-miler has been rewarded by having her image placed in the IAAF 2012 calendar. It's a special edition, marking 100 years of Athletics Excellence from 1912-2012. On the cover of the calendar is legendary Jesse Owens, the American sprint/long jump specialist who achieved international fame by winning four gold medals in the 100 and 200 metres, the long jump and as a part of the 4 x 100m relay team at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin, Germany. Miller, the 17-year-old 12th grader at St Augustine's College, ironically is placed on the month of July in her winning form at the 7th IAAF World Youth Championships in France on July 8th. ANTOAN RICHARDSON MLB CALL-UP With a single swing, Antoan Richardson realized the fulfillment of a life-long dream with an unforgettable welcome to Major League Baseball. Richardson singled in his first big league at bat, pinch hitting for pitcher Randall Delgado, when his line drive sailed above the outstretched glove of LA Dodgers second baseman Justin Sellers. Richardson and the Braves rallied for a come- from-behind 4-3 win at home over the Dodgers at Turner Field. The Braves called up Richardson from Double-A Mississippi and added him to their group of six September call-ups. The speedy outfielder was hitting .283 in 91 games for Mississippi. He added 17 stolen bases in 22 attempts and 64 runs scored. Richardson was drafted in the 2001, 2002, 2004 and 2005 Major League Baseball drafts. The San Francisco Giants signed him after they took him in the 2005 draft, and he played in the Giants organisation until he was released in 2009. He then signed with the Schaumburg Flyers of the Northern League. In May of 2010, he signed a six-year minor league free agent deal with the Atlanta Braves. Regarded as a switch hitter with good speed and high on base percentage, Richardson was highly sought after as an amateur, evident by his four draft selections. He sports a .397 career on base percentage over seven minor league seasons and finished his last 10 minor league games with an OBP of .500 and a batting average of .259. 1600m RELAY TEAM FIASCO Shocked. Surprised. Stunned. Unbelievable. Disappointing. Those were just some of the thoughts that came to mindfor much of the country after the heart-wrenching and jaw dropping performance of the men's 4 x 400 metre relay at the 13th IAAF World Championships yesterday. The time posted up on the scoreboard for the combo of Ramon Miller, Avard Moncur, Andrae Williams and LaToy Williams was three minutes and 1.54 seconds. (3:01.54). Not good enough to book a lane in the final. No season's best or personal best posted for the Bahamas' name as they finished a disappointing fourth in the last of two heats in the semifinal in an event where they came into heavily favored to medal. Debate raged on for many as they questioned whether it sws it the best team that the coaching staff could have assembled, considering that both national champion Demetrius Pinder and vintage Chris 'Fireman' Brown had two days from their surprising and stunning exit from the semifinal of the 400? The coaching staff, including Fritz Grant and Frank 'Pacho' Rahming, made the decision to rest both Chris 'Fireman' Brown and Demetrius Pinder with the view that the quartet would have been able to get the job done in the semifinal and qualify for the final. It was disheartening that for the second consecutive year, the team didn't get a lane in the final. At the previous champinoships in Berlin, Germany in 2009, the Bahamas got disqualified for running out of the exchange zone on the first hand over between Miller and Moncur. Both competitors returned to their same spots in Daegu and ran well to put the Bahamas in contention.


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment