Outgoing President Holds Door Open for U17 Team
- Wednesday, February 23, 2011 12:30 PM
President Rene Preval, on the phone this week, protested to the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) on the removal of the Haitian under 17 national team from the World Cup Qualifiers in Jamaica.
Preval spoke with Joseph Blatter, chairman of FIFA, over the phone who promised the outgoing president that he would consider waiving the team's participation in the qualifiers and qualifying the young Haitian football team for the World Cup 2012 in Mexico.
The Haitian Under 17 National Football Team was removed from the qualifying tournament in Jamaica this past week when two players were infected with malaria. The Jamaican government quarantined the entire team and the Haitian government sent a plane to return the young athletes home. The team had already played one match against Costa Rica and were schedule to play El Salvador next.
The President spoke of how he had received the young athletes mentioning they were traumatized over the expulsion and treatment from the Jamaican government. The proposal of qualifying the team was given to FIFA as a "reparation" for the national outrage that followed the scandalous removal of the team. The president of the Haitian Football Federation also commented on the idea, as he returned to Haiti with his team, noting that the FHF "welcomed the their proposal".
President Preval met with the entire team and awkwardly tried to cheer the teenagers up saying that they can become "stronger" after the ordeal Jamaican.
It seems that all sides would like to see the Haitian U17 team participate in the World Cup, scheduled for next summer in Mexico. The coach of the Brazilian team agreed also that a solution is needed that measures our to justice, mentioning the on-going FIFA/North Korea incident.
Blatter expressed his willingness to discuss the modalities of integrating Haiti into the finals of the World Cup to be held from June 18 to July 10 2012. To see this to its end, a delegation including the Minister of Youth and Sports, Lescouflair Evans and Dr. Yves Jean-Bart has furthered their efforts by heading to the FIFA headquarters in Zurich.
Several thousand demonstrators protested Saturday in Port-au-Prince against the Jamaican authorities expelling the young Haitian footballers on the grounds that several of them had contracted malaria and were a health threat to the English commonwealth, Jamaica.
The Haitian government has recalled its charge d'affaires (diplomat) in Kingston, Jamaica but was careful not to demand an apology. The move to remove the diplomat was a statement in itself of the very serious diplomatic offense that the incident has brought.
Haiti first game before the expulsion from the World Cup Qualification In Jamaica
Haiti vs El Salvador