Lyndon Cooper was re-elected as President of the Saint Lucia Football Association [SLFA] Inc. by an overwhelming majority, following the convening of the Election of Officers at the 36th Ordinary Congress, last Saturday.
Notably, all 18 League representatives were present with a Steering Committee of the Marchand Football League [MFL] present as observers. Also attending, in the capacity of an observer was the Concacaf Project Director Howard Mc. Intosh.
Each candidate was allotted five minutes to make a presentation to the Delegates following which the voting was conducted. The elections were conducted by Cuthbert St. Juste and Marva Daniel who outlined the procedures to be undertaken.
But the anticipated challenge for the SLFA presidency between Cooper and the main challenger Sabrina Charles-Kirton from the MFL, petered out into a no-contest match, as Kirton pulled out of the race.
Subsequently, 16 affiliates voted in favour of the SLFA president, while the MFL and the Castries Football League representatives abstained.
At the conclusion of the election process, the following individuals were elected to serve on the SLFA executive: President –Lyndon Cooper – 16 votes, First President –Stephen Regis – Unopposed, Second Vice President –Innocent St. Ange – 12 votes to Mary Liz Campbell – 4 votes, Vice President Northern Zone – Valdez James – Unopposed, Vice President Eastern Zone – Kendel Emmanuel – Unopposed, Vice President Southern Zone –. Emmanuel Bellas – Unopposed.
The post of Vice President for the Western Zone, contested between the incumbent Alvin Francis and challenger Marcus Harrow ended in a stalemate, following a 2-2 result at the end of voting. According to an SLFA official, the matter will be resolved at a later date when club representatives from the four (4) Western Zone leagues vote for a candidate.
During her presentation, Charles Kirton withdrew her candidacy, stating among other things that the elections were improperly constituted.
Citing a breach in the constitution as the primary reason for her withdrawal from the presidency race, Charles- Kirton explained her position on the matter.
“I see it fitting since the constitution has been breached, based on the 2012 Constitution …and we have a situation where even the executive committee, based on the 2012 Constitution should not be functioning, because based on the 2012 Constitution it indicated that as of 2021, four of the zonal vice-presidents are supposed to be re-elected,” she told reporters, outside the conference hall, last Saturday.
Speaking on her next move, Charles- Kirton declared: “I will be challenging the legality of this election.”
She added that while adhering to the rules and regulations of the constitution, governed by FIFA, however there were certain irregularities in the election process that she plans to contest in a legal forum. “As it relates to the elections procedure, there were many things that was not done the correct way, and because of my integrity …I do not want to partake in such an organization.”
In the buildup to the elections there has been strong objections from certain quarters concerning the election procedure, with none more vocal that a ‘break-away’ faction of the MFL.
Charles- Kirton recalls that prior to the elections, 28 clubs “signed a Petition” that was sent to FIFA to voice their complaints and concerns over the election process, “with all of the breaches of the constitution and we await a word from FIFA.”
In addition, she said, on February 2, the MFL received correspondence from the SLFA relating to the Road Map for re-integration of the MFL into the fold, with a “panel of persons” selected by the SLFA “to guide the Marchand Football League”.
While justifying the election process, the SLFA president solidified his position stating that, “We have moved from a system where we used to do things ad hoc, but because of FIFA rules we are now in a position where we have completed Phase 1 of the governance issue dealing with nomination and election and have basically come to the end of that cycle,” explained Cooper.
Moving forward, he said, the SLFA will meet with its affiliates to “get everything approved, so that they understand what needs to be done and what we are doing.”
Commenting on the need for constitutional reform within the SLFA and the wider football governance structure on island, Cooper asserted: “We take our cue from FIFA and Concacaf and if there is need for constitutional modernization, FIFA is going to direct us…but I do not take my cue from the detractors.”
He added: “We have never stopped with our developmental programs …there was just too much negativity that was directed at me personally, and not at the sport of football.
“We will continue with the development of football to achieve our overall objective, especially our strategic plans and see how best we can move the sport forward, continuously.”
Speaking briefly to the VOICE Sports, Mc. Intosh stated: “The elections commission did its job, in terms of the running of the elections and…congratulate all the persons that were elected and look forward to great progress in football development in Saint Lucia.”