Horace Burrell, a long-time Caribbean soccer official and former ally of several controversial FIFA vice presidents, has died. He was 67.
The governing body of soccer in North America said the Jamaican, a senior vice president, died Tuesday. Media in Jamaica reported that Burrell was a patient at Johns Hopkins Cancer Treatment Centre in Baltimore, Maryland.
Burrell oversaw Jamaica’s qualification for the 1998 World Cup during two stints as president of the soccer federation from 1994-2003 and since 2007.
“Captain Burrell’s commitment and vision for the sport contributed to create a strong legacy for the game within the region,” the Miami-based CONCACAF soccer body said.
Burrell gave the Caribbean region continuity at CONCACAF and FIFA through corruption scandals that have flared since 2011. He was a FIFA disciplinary committee member, but lost that duty in 2011 when he was banned for three months in a Caribbean bribery case during that year’s FIFA presidential election.
Burrell, who had not cooperated fully with a FIFA-appointed investigation, was not implicated in taking money in a scandal which removed CONCACAF president Jack Warner from soccer.
Warner was replaced as CONCACAF leader and FIFA vice president by Jeffrey Webb, once a business partner of Burrell’s in a Cayman Islands branch of the Captain’s Bakery and Grill restaurant chain.
Webb and Warner were both indicted in May 2015 by the U.S. Department of Justice as part of a sprawling and ongoing investigation of bribery and corruption in international soccer linked to FIFA. Webb has pleaded guilty and is awaiting sentence, while Warner is fighting extradition to the United States from Trinidad and Tobago.
A third CONCACAF president, Alfredo Hawit of Honduras, was also indicted and arrested later in 2015.
Burrell had re-joined FIFA’s inner circle within weeks of his ban expiring in 2012 and was appointed to the committee organizing Olympic soccer tournaments.
As CONCACAF cleaned house in fallout from scandals, Burrell served as its No. 2 elected official and the most senior Caribbean in the 40-nation group.