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Sergio Chuc can’t run for FFB presidency Print E-mail
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Thursday, 15 June 2017 00:00

The Football Federation of Belize is scheduled to have an election to select a new president on June 24th. But the election is not going as smoothly as possible since a controversy has erupted within the organization. Sergio Chuc who contested the position of president on April 30, 2016, is not being allowed to run. Chuc had run for the position against outgoing president, Ruperto Vicente and at the time there were 22 rounds of voting each time ending with a tie between the two.

That situation led to senior vice president Marlon Kuylen is holding over as president until a new date was set for the 24th of June. While it would seem like a simple carrying forward of the process, Sergio Chuc called a press conference on June 13 to announce that he is being unjustly barred from running. Chuc says that the decision came from the Electoral Committee of the FFB. That committee made a decision to not allow Chuc to run for president after allegations were made against him on April 30th for bribery, corruption, conflict of interest and attaining an advantage in seeking the office of the presidency.

According to Chuc, the allegations stem from his company being a corporate sponsor for a number of teams which he says does not add up to the charges. He says that he’s been involved in the sport of football for many years sponsoring teams for the love of the game as well as a marketing strategy for his company.

Other allegations against Chuc have it that he interfered with the electoral process. Chuc says that those allegations came about when a letter was drafted and signed by members of the FFB voting block to suspend a member. That member happened to be Chuc and he says when he approached those members to ask them if they signed the letter, the said they did. The problem however is that those members say the suspension was not for Chuc rather it was to suspend another individual. With that Chuc had three of the persons who signed, recant their support for the suspension. For Shane Orio who is an executive member of the FFB that amounted to tampering with the electoral process and the decision was taken that Chuc could not run.

For his part, Chuc says that now that there is a decision for him not to run is unfair. He presented a letter by the Disciplinary Committee of the FFB which is headed by attorney David Morales as the Chairman and two other attorneys Andrew Bennett and Herbert Panton. Dated May 12, in the letter the committee found that the evidence provided “does not provide an iota of evidence that would lend itself for the committee to consider that a prima facie case has been established against Mr. Chuc.”

Nonetheless the decision was taken for Chuc to be barred from running. He has now gone through the process of appeal and that failed. He says that he did so on three grounds, being that he was notified late that he would not be allowed to run. The process had it that the deadline for application to run was May 15th. If by May 25th there was no objection then the candidacy would have been accepted. Chuc says he was notified that he was being disallowed a day later. According to Chuc, the Electoral Committee writes this off as clerical error and the decision stood.

The second ground of appeal was that the Electoral Committee did not consider the decision by the Disciplinary Committee and its findings. To this the Electoral Committee says that the correspondence by the Disciplinary Committee is improper because it does not have a letterhead. This even though the letter bears the signature of the chairman.

The third appeal ground is that Chuc was not given due process, the answer to this by the Electoral Committee is that he was given due process because he was able to appeal.

Now Chuc is left with only two alternatives, the first which he has already commenced is to have the matter heard at the Court for Sports Arbitration in Switzerland. This Chuc says will take some time and doing and the outcome for it may not be for another six months. The other option which he is looking at is to appeal to the voting members of the FFB and ask that they do not show up for the elections on the 24th. Chuc says that already he has gotten commitment from at least 60 percent of those who are to vote that they will not show up. This will force the FFB into another wait for an election to take place.