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  • CONCACAF Presidential Hopeful Vows to Root Out Corruption


    (ATR) The first declared CONCACAF presidential candidate tells Around the Rings he is ready to lead the charge against corruption in football.

    CONCACAF presidential candidate Mark Rodrigues (IFF)
    “There needs to be "fresh blood" injected into CONCACAF leadership and management,” says Mark Rodrigues of Guyana. “It's actually a positive that I have not worked at the top levels of the confederation yet, as I am not beholden to anyone in any way.”

    Rodrigues believes he is the man to end the run of corruption that has plagued the football confederation of North, Central America and the Caribbean for the past two decades. He says the arrests of three former CONCACAF presidents made him want to pursue the position.

    "The initial president's arrest started the thought process," he tells ATR, speaking about former FIFA vice president Jeffrey Webb. "The second presidential arrest triggered more serious consideration and after speaking with a few honest, respected individuals in the football world and my family, the decision was made."

    At 56-years old, Rodrigues is the head coach of the Guyana women's national football team and an integrity officer for CONCACAF. He has coached football teams of all ages for the past 15 years and handled more than $100 million in a corporate real estate account over his 20-year career. He plans to emulate his leadership style on the football field within the ranks of CONCACAF.

    Rodrigues leads a coaching seminar. (IFF)
    “You have to first ensure that you surround yourself with the right staff that not only have the ability to perform their respective duties, but can also add to what you know and share,” he says. “Empowering your staff and players to perform at their peak is critical, no different to what a good leader of any organization would do with his management staff and employees.

    "Treating everyone with respect and integrity becomes contagious and will reflect in their performance on and off the field.”

    Rodrigues says his very first act as president would get the ball rolling towards creating a credible support system within the confederation.

    “I would begin the process off by hiring a general secretary that shares the same values and principles as myself, who has the ability to perform such an important role in a honest, efficient and fair manner.”

    In addition to hiring new staff, the candidate aims to root out those who that may still be corrupt in the organization.

    Guyana Football Federation president Wayne Forde (GFF)
    “There is an old saying, ‘a leopard never changes its spots’," he says. “Those leopards will ultimately emerge from the shadows and be identified. I would also ensure that full cooperation is provided to the US Justice Department in identifying said individuals and that our own ethics department is effectively doing their job.”

    Rodrigues tells ATR several football associations in the region have offered verbal support to his candidacy, including his home country Guyana.

    “The new president Wayne Forde, the executive committee and the entire country are behind my bid,” he says. “They have witnessed firsthand the work I have done developmentally in the country and throughout CONCACAF and know I am a man of integrity and a man that can make a difference in CONCACAF.”

    “I think Mark Rodrigues has proved that he is a servant of football and I believe that he possesses the requisite skills to do the job,” said Guyana Football Federation president Wayne Forde.

    Under his proposals, Rodrigues believes he can help usher in “The New CONCACAF”.

    “It's simply to create a Confederation that leads with honesty and integrity with "football for all" at the core of everything we do. Ensuring that ALL member associations have their equal say and know that their voices are heard and they are truly a part of the decision making processes.”

    “I can truly and honestly serve as CONCACAF President with one hundred percent interest in football and football only, while equally representing all 41 member associations,” he says.

    The CONCACAF presidential election is set to take place May 12 in Mexico City. No other candidates have announced their intentions to run thus far.

    Written by Kevin Nutley

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