CONCACAF announces that Chuck Blazer is not fired and will continue as secretary general; counter-denial issued

The United States branch of the football federation has reversed the decision taken by the temporary leader of North and Central American football to get rid of their sec-gen

Chuck Blazer will continue to perform his duties as the secretary general of Concacaf after acting president Lisle Austin’s attempt to remove him from his post were branded "unauthorised" by the New York faction of the same organisation.

The acting Concacaf president sent Blazer the news of his sacking in a letter, seen by Goal.com, shortly before midnight on Tuesday to his hotel room in Switzerland, where he is in attendance at the Fifa Congress.

However, the governing body of football in North America, Central America and the Caribbean, has now discarded Austin’s decision to remove Blazer via an official communique.

In a statement on their official website, Concacaf explained: “Today an unauthorized declaration was made by Lisle Austin attempting to remove Chuck Blazer as General Secretary of CONCACAF.

“This attempted action was taken without any authority. Under the CONCACAF Statutes, jurisdiction over the General Secretary rests solely with the CONCACAF Executive Committee which has taken no action. Further a majority of the Executive Committee Members have advised Mr. Austin that he does not have the authority to take such action.

“Chuck Blazer continues as CONCACAF General Secretary and with the full authority of his office. The Confederation continues its normal operations including the Gold Cup commencing on June 5th at Cowboys Stadium in Dallas."

This announcement came from Concacaf's New York office, while Blazer's sacking was on letterhead from the Trinidad & Tobago facility. Although the Trinidad paper was distributed in Switzerland, it suggests geographical as well as factional discord among the organisation.

Blazer is currently undertaking an anti-corruption investigation alongside a group of American lawyers. His work has already resuled in the suspension of erstwhile president (and Austin ally) Jack Warner.

UPDATE 01:59 - Lisle Austin's office has issued a 'final statement' with regards to Blazer's response.

The statement is given in full below:

"I have been made aware of a statement from CONCACAF Media Relations purporting that my actions to terminate Chuck Blazer as General Secretary in my capacity as President (Ag) of CONCACAF were unauthorized.  It is instructive to note that the authority of the President to terminate Mr. Blazer rests in the CONCACAF Statutes and was taken after legal advice had been sort. (sic)

"Article 29 of the CONCACAF Statutes states, “The President has the judicial and extrajudicial representation of CONCACAF.”  Moreover, the Executive Committee has no authority to convene a meeting without having the said meeting called and chaired by the President as articulated by Article 29 which confirms that “The President shall preside over the meetings of the Congress, of the Executive Committee, of the Emergency Committee and of the Committees.”

"The presence of four (4) Executive Committee members in the hotel room of Mr. Blazer does not constitute an Executive Committee meeting.

"The response from the CONCACAF Media Relations is not only the fruit of illegal actions on the part of Mr. Blazer who is no longer the General Secretary, but is tantamount to trespassing since, the unauthorized use of CONCACAF’s services and equipment by non-CONCACAF staff is unlawful.

"I can assure you that this is my final statement on this matter , I will not allow myself or this organization to dragged into a tit for tat war in the public domain. The reputation of this organization has suffered immensely over the last two weeks .

"In my earlier statement , I called on the membership to heal the wounds my hope is that we can  once again look upon each other without mistrust or prejudice.

"Our Confederation has suffered and let us move toward a brighter future from this moment.

"Lisle Austin, President (Ag.), CONCACAF."

Austin's citing of judicial and extrajudicial powers seems to be of questionable relevance to his ability to unilaterally dismiss the secretary general. According to Article 28 of the statutes (available here), the power to appoint a secretary general clearly lies with the Executive Committee and Emergency Committee, both of which, as Austin hints at, have yet to be convened with regard to this issue. The issue of dismissal is not clearly articulated but as Blazer earlier remarked, it is apparent that 'jurisdiction' does not rest with the president alone regardless of the circumstance.

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