Candidate for Crisis-Hit Soccer Body Fails Background Check

  • FIFA wrote to Caribbean official saying he can't hold post
  • Gordon Derrick's elimination leaves two vying for Concacaf job

One of the men hoping to become soccer’s new leader in Central and North America failed a background check, leaving only two candidates for the post responsible for rebuilding an organization struggling with the sport’s corruption and bribery investigations.

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Gordon Derrick of Antigua couldn’t pass an integrity check conducted by FIFA, the sport’s global governing body, and was eliminated before the May vote. That leaves Canada’s Victor Montagliani and Bermudan lawyer Larry Mussenden in the race to replace Alfredo Hawit as president of the group, which also governs the sport in the Caribbean. Hawit, who pleaded guilty Monday to racketeering and money-laundering conspiracy, is the third straight Concacaf president to be indicted in an American probe into corruption.

Derrick is a popular figure among Concacaf’s biggest bloc -- the Caribbean Football Union, where he’s president. FIFA is conducting background checks of regional candidates who might reach the global body’s new top board, the FIFA Council. The presidents of soccer’s six regional organizations automatically become vice presidents of that group. Derrick said he hadn’t received official notification of his rejection.

Previous Cases

Derrick can appeal the decision with the Lausanne-based Court of Arbitration for Sport. According to a letter seen by Bloomberg News, Derrick failed the integrity check because he was found guilty by the global body’s ethics committee of violations related to an attempt by a former FIFA presidential candidate to buy votes in 2011. He’s also facing an ongoing investigation by the same panel into the alleged misuse of FIFA development funds that started in March 2015.

“Based on these findings and in particular in view of the two proceedings mentioned above and taking into account that fundamental standards and principles of FIFA have been infringed and are alleged of having been infringed by Mr. Derrick, the committee came to the conclusion and decided that Mr. Gordon Derrick cannot be admitted as a candidate for the election to the office of FIFA Vice-President in May 2016," the letter said.

Concacaf is one of the regional bodies most damaged by investigations by American and Swiss authorities. Last May, Swiss police conducted a morning raid on a luxury hotel in Zurich, arresting senior FIFA officials on allegations they were involved in corruption for more than two decades. Eighteen officials linked to the organization are among the more than 40 defendants.

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