Marvin Fraser appointed acting president
The St Vincent and the Grenadines’ Football Federation’s executive has moved swiftly to appoint Marvin Fraser as acting president, taking over from Venold Coombs, who has been banned by FIFA’s Ethics Committee for two years.
Fraser has been serving under Coombs for the past six years and nine months, as the SVGFF’s second vice-president.
Fraser, at a press conference held on Wednesday at the SVGFF’s Conference Room, said that at an emergency meeting of the executive the previous night, it was “unanimously” decided that he would be installed as “acting president.”
The decision to ban Coombs was taken by the adjudicatory chamber of the independent Ethics Committee of FIFA, the Federation of International Football Associations.
The ban, which was published on FIFA.com on Tuesday, relates to all football-related activities (administrative, sports or any other) at both the national and international level.
The investigation into Coombs was opened on June 9, 2016 and focused on the resale of tickets for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™. The investigatory chamber analysed allegations that Coombs had sold tickets purchased by the SVGFF and by him personally, in his capacity as a FIFA standing committee member, for a profiteering mark-up.
The adjudicatory chamber found Coombs guilty of having violated article 21, which deals with Bribery and Corruption, article 19 – Conflicts of interest and article 15 (Loyalty) of the FIFA Code of Ethics.
However, Fraser in his capacity of treasurer of the SVGFF, revealed that he had little knowledge of the sale of the tickets.
“I am here today, not being investigated by FIFA, never was investigated by FIFA… because I am the treasurer of the organisation and as a member of the executive, the first person that FIFA spoke with was me,” Fraser disclosed at the press conference.
Preaching his innocence on the matter of the tickets, Fraser recalled, “And when they spoke with me and I told them, exactly what I am telling you today and they realised I had little or limited knowledge of what transpired, they basically said to me Mr Fraser just deal with the association.”
Fraser admitted, though, that at the time, the executive had agreed to sell the World Cup tickets which were allocated to St Vincent and the Grenadines, but they were left solely in the hands of Coombs and then general secretary Trevor Huggins. When the matter of the tickets surfaced in June 2014, Coombs in an interview with SEARCHLIGHT had indicated, “there was no hanky-panky”.
“We got the tickets; in fact we got just over 200, less than the 250 which were allocated to us…. We sold them to another buyer and this money came in very handy…. We are using the money to send the Under-20 team to Cuba for the qualifiers later this month,” Coombs told SEARCHLIGHT then.
He confirmed as well that it was only a percentage of the ticket sales that ended up in the coffers of the SVGFF.
Coombs said at the time that any accusations of underhand dealings could only have come from “mischief makers who want to tarnish the good name of football in St Vincent and the Grenadines”.