Blackout and shutouts and not guilty pleas – football’s latest on and off the field blues

by | Dec 16, 2015

National Super LeagueAn electricity outage in certain parts of Port-of-Spain and environs last night caused the postponement of two key matches in the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association Championship Division of the National Super League.


The outage occurred shortly before seven pm which was the scheduled time for kick-off of the two matches, the title-deciding clash between top-of-the-table pair Queen’s Park and Prison at the Hasely Crawford Stadium and the other carded for the community ground at Dibe, Long Circular between  visiting teams Petit Valley United and Edinburgh 500 from the Chaguanas district.


Three other matches were not affected at venues in Chaguanas, and in Arima.


The two postponed matches are to be re-scheduled and tgged the last in the championship for 2015.


In England yesterday meanwhile Trinidad and Tobago’s international player-and team captain Kenwyn Jones scored two goals in his Cardiff City’s 3-2 victory over Brentford in an Englaish Championship Division League match in Cardiff.


Jones scored Cardiff’s second for their 2-nil lead and after Brentford clawed heir way back to knot scores at 2-2 wth four minutes to go, Jones became the goal-scoring hero with his strike on 90 minutes for the win.


Meanwhile Two soccer bosses including a former president of Honduras pleaded not guilty yesterday to U.S. charges they took bribes in exchange for media and marketing contracts in a scandal that has rocked the business of global soccer.


Rafael Callejas, who was president of Honduras from 1990 to 1994 and later became president of its soccer federation, flashed a thumbs-up to someone in the audience as he left a hearing in federal court in Brooklyn, New York.


Juan Angel Napout, a Paraguayan and former president of the South American confederation CONMEBOL, pleaded not guilty at a separate hearing.


The two came to the United States voluntarily after their indictment on bribery charges was unsealed on Dec. 3. They are among 41 people and entities charged in a U.S. corruption sweep that has sent soccer’s world governing body FIFA into an unprecedented crisis.


The 72-year-old Callejas, who has served on a FIFA committee, did not immediately seek release on bail. He has said he bore no responsibility for the accusations and was ready to defend himself.


Callejas is charged with taking bribes from Media World, an affiliate of Spain’s Imagina Group, so that the company could obtain media and marketing rights for qualifier matches ahead of the 2014, 2018 and 2022 World Cup tournaments.


Imagina has said it would cooperate fully with U.S. authorities. It suspended the chief executive of Media World and another employee.


A magistrate judge approved a $20 million bond package that cleared the way for Napout’s release to home detention with 24-hour security and video surveillance. Napout, 57, quit CONMEBOL last week and was suspended from his position as a FIFA vice president.


Napout is charged with soliciting bribe payments from two sports marketing firms to secure his support for awarding commercial rights to soccer tournaments including the popular Copa Libertadores.


In parallel investigations, Swiss and U.S. authorities are focusing on whether business contracts and the World Cup hosting rights for 2018 in Russia and 2022 in Qatar were won with the help of bribery.


The schemes described in the Dec. 3 indictment involved over $200 million in bribes and kickbacks sought for marketing and broadcast rights to tournaments and matches.


Of the 41 defendants, 14 have pleaded guilty. At least four others including Callejas and Napout are in the United States. The rest are in various stages of extradition proceedings.