Canadian takes over scandal-plagued CONCACAF

Mexico City (AFP) – Canada’s Victor Montagliani was elected on Thursday as president of the football confederation of North and Central America and the Caribbean, whose last three leaders left office under a cloud of corruption allegations.

Montagliani, the 50-year-old head of the Canadian Soccer Association, defeated Bermuda football chief Larry Mussenden in a 25-16 vote by members of CONCACAF in Mexico City.

It was the first time that a president was elected in a secret ballot.

Montagaliani becomes the fourth CONCACAF president in five years. His three predecessors were ensnared in the corruption scandal that has rocked FIFA, world football’s governing body.

Longtime chief Jack Warner of Trinidad and Tobago, who resigned in 2011, is currently fighting against extradition to the United States after being indicted for racketeering and conspiracy.

Jeffrey Webb, who succeeded Warner, pleaded guilty to racketeering, money laundering and wire fraud last year after being extradited from Switzerland.

Alfredo Hawit, who is from Honduras, was arrested in Switzerland in December and extradited to the United States a month later.

Hawit appeared in a New York court last month and pleaded guilty to four criminal charges, including racketeering and wire fraud in connection with the FIFA scandal.

Montagliani has headed Canada’s football association since 2012 and serves on the FIFA reform committee. 

Prior to Thursday’s secret vote, he had been backed by the United States, Mexico, Canada, the seven Central American associations and four from the Caribbean (Cuba, Haiti, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic). 

Montagliani has vowed to bring more transparency at CONCACAF, starting from the top.

The scandals “have sullied our sport and badly undermined the public’s trust in football’s governing bodies,” Montagliani wrote in an open letter announcing his candidacy in February.

He said the game must be “governed in a principled and professional way that, above all else, protects the integrity of the game.”

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