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Montagliani vows to clean up Concacaf

Canadian Victor Montagliani elected president of CONCACAF, speaks to the media during a news conference as part of the 66th FIFA Congress in Mexico City, Mexico, May 12, 2016. REUTERS/Henry Romero

Victor Montagliani hopes that the nations that did not vote for him at the Concacaf Congress in Mexico City yesterday will play ball in the future.

Speaking just hours after he was elected president of Concacaf, Montagliani used Larry Mussenden, his beaten rival, as an example of the cooperation he expects to enjoy from the other Caribbean Football Union members who did not support his bid.

For the first time in a long time the CFU did not vote as one, with almost half of the 31 member nations backing the Canadian, rather than Mussenden, the Bermuda Football Association president.

“What I’m really happy about is today, for the first time I can remember, there has been a breakdown of the walls, especially among the unions,” Montagliani said.

“For the first time we have an opportunity to come together as one confederation and build upon that. I think the opportunities are way more than we have ever had.”

In the past the CFU represented a significant force within Concacaf, however, the fractious nature of Wednesday’s CFU meeting, during which the election was discussed, and the promise of an even greater dispute ahead at the CFU presidential elections in July, do not bode well for Montagliani’s hopes of a peaceful confederation.

“It’s a democracy, and my opponent Larry, he brought the best out of me in terms of my campaign,” Montagliani said. “There is a first-class individual, I’ve known him for a long time and I consider him a friend.

“Even a guy like Larry, who obviously didn’t vote for me, I know that he is the type of person that is a team player, and I would think that a few of the other people would have the same mentality.

“Football is a team sport and sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, but I think you always have to play for the team.”

Montagliani has other issues to deal with as well, not least the continuing fallout from the Fifa scandal and the United States Department of Justice investigation, which is ongoing.

Although Jeffrey Webb and Jack Warner, two of Montagliani’s predecessors have been charged, the feeling within Concacaf is that it will not stop there.

Montagliani does not think the confederation is on its last chance with Fifa, but he acknowledges that members of Concacaf are close to stepping over the line once too often.

“First and foremost is this our last chance, I’m not sure,” the president said. “I think we’re lucky with the number of chances we have gotten, so we have to take advantage of that.

“Do I look around the room and wonder who is clean and who is dirty? I think everybody is innocent until proven otherwise, I think we live in that society.”

Ultimately though Montagliani believes he must set the standards for others to live by.

“The tone starts from the top,” he said.

“I have said that from the beginning, from an integrity and transparency standpoint. I believe that is one of the things I will bring to Concacaf.”