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This year’s CONCACAF Under-15 Boys’ Championship, which was scheduled to be held in the Cayman Islands and Jamaica in August, has been cancelled.

CONCACAF release stated the executive committee said it had decided to postpone the development competition until further notice. Visiting squads from Brazil, England and the Oceania Football Confederation’s Vanuatu were among those intending to compete in the regional competition, along with some 30 regional squads including T&T in what would have been the biggest tournament in the region ever held at the youth level.

CONCACAF said: “CONCACAF continues to be focused on its core mission of delivering outstanding soccer events. In the short term, efforts will be dedicated in full to the successful delivery of the upcoming CONCACAF Gold Cup 2015, in addition to other Championships which also qualify CONCACAF teams to worldwide-level tournaments, such as the Men’s Olympic Qualifying Championship and the Under-20 Women’s Championship, to be played as scheduled later in 2015.”

The Confederation stated it plans to restore a full slate of complementary youth development tournaments in the shortest possible time.

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(CNS): The CONCACAF Under-15 Boys’ 2015 Championship, which was scheduled to be held in the Cayman Islands and Jamaica in August, has been cancelled. In a release from the regional football body, the Executive Committee said it had decided to postpone the development competition until further notice but made no mention of the bribery scandal which has engulfed the game worldwide.

This news is not only a blow to the young players but also the local economy, as the tournament was expected to be a great late summer boost to hotels and local services.

Visiting squads from Brazil, England and the Oceania Football Confederation’s Vanuatu were among those intending to compete in the regional competition, along with over thirty regional squads in what would have been the biggest tournament in the region ever held.

Jeffrey Webb, the former FIFA Vice President and until recently president of both CIFA and CONCACAF, had focused heavily on the grassroots of the game and had ensured that Cayman also benefitted from his lofty position by bringing development tournaments here.

“Our teams will be competing against stellar international lineups at a youth level, assisting both sides in elevating the standards of the game and the quality of play,” he said at the time Brazil announced its participation.  “This is but one example of how we are using football to attract opportunities for our youth, and utilizing the power of the game to inspire a new generation.”

However, with Webb still sitting a Swiss jail cell fighting his extradition to the United States, accused of being involved in the massive $150 million bribery and racketeering investigation, the new CONCACAF bosses have placed the grassroots development on hold.

“CONCACAF continues to be focused on its core mission of delivering outstanding soccer events,” officials said in a release. “In the short term, efforts will be dedicated in full to the successful delivery of the upcoming CONCACAF Gold Cup 2015, in addition to other Championships which also qualify CONCACAF teams to worldwide-level tournaments, such as the Men’s Olympic Qualifying Championship and the Under-20 Women’s Championship, to be played as scheduled later in 2015.”

The regional body did say it had plans to restore a full slate of complementary youth development tournaments in the shortest possible time. “This includes our objective to re-schedule the Under-15 Boys’ Championship, at the soonest opportunity,” officials said, but there was no indication about where the competition would be held.

CNS has contacted CIFA about this latest blow to local football but officials said they would be sending a release tomorrow. We are also still waiting for a response on questions regarding whether or not CIFA voted for Blatter during the recent FIFA Congress and if the organization would be willing to reveal its accounts.

This week, as the Legislative Assembly continues in Finance Committee scrutinizing the government’s spending for 2015/16, the cash contribution government makes to CIFA from public money is likely to raise questions for the sports minister. Government will give CIFA $127,775 this year to support its sports programmes and the development of the sport. CIFA receives one of the largest grants from the public purse compared to other sports and the government gives money directly to some of the islands local league clubs as well.

Sports Minister Osbourne Bodden has broken his silence about the arrest of Webb and the implications for local sport. Speaking to Cayman27 on Friday, he said the arrest of Webb was “gut wrenching”.

“We’ve always heard of corruption in FIFA,” he said, “That’s something that everybody talks about. But we never thought it would impact us, as it were.”

He said that if Webb is involved, then we’re involved. “As minister of sport, it was gut-wrenching — for the sport of football, for his family, for the Cayman Islands.”