Football propels Webb to Cayman's Person of the Year
FOOTBALL aficionado Jeffrey Webb has been named the Person of the Year by a major news entity in his native Cayman Islands.
Webb, 48, a banker by trade and president of the continental body CONCACAF, was voted unanimously the outstanding personality for 2012 by the 14-year-old online newspaper, Cayman Net News, ahead of leaders in politics and business.
The Caymanian, also a vice-president of football's world governing body FIFA, took over leadership of CONCACAF last May unopposed following the departure of long-serving president, Trinidad and Tobago Austin 'Jack' Warner, in the wake of the cash-for-vote scandal involving officials of the Caribbean Football Union (CFU), an affiliate of the confederation body.
Speaking from Mexico yesterday, Webb told the Jamaica Observer he was humbled by the recognition.
"I am very honoured to be considered in this very special way... I am humbled by it and accept it on behalf of my immediate family and the extended football family.
"It (Person of the Year) is a manifestation that football is truly the global sport whose relevance and importance transcend all boundaries as they regard to race, religion, politics, class or creed. One's work in football is not just restrictive to football, but on the broader scope, it's in service of all other positive aspects of life and the human reality," he ended.
Webb has led a sustained campaign to repair the damaged image of the CFU and CONCACAF and has committed in unifying the football family in North and Central America and the Caribbean.
That healing, by all indications, has already started.
JFF president Captain Horace Burrell, who is also in Mexico for the CONCACAF Under-20 Men's World Cup qualifiers, offered congratulations for Webb's latest honour.
"I must congratulate Jeff on this achievement because he has worked tirelessly for the sake of football on various levels and it's clear that his work has not gone unnoticed. His rise in football is no small feat for a Caribbean man, which is a striking demonstration of the essence of the peoples of the Caribbean, that once we set our minds to achieve, we can, we have, and we will," said the a CONCACAF executive committee member.
"His position in world football is not an ordinary accomplishment, and has to rank highly in the history of the Cayman Islands, therefore to be named the Person of the Year is truly fitting," said Burrell.
Webb, who has led the Cayman Islands Football Association (CIFA) since 1991, was first publicly endorsed by Jamaica as a candidate for CONCACAF president, which was later made official at the congress in Hungary last year.
Since taking over a battered CONCACAF, Webb has spearheaded a number of new and exciting initiatives, including the possibility of staging CONCACAF's marquis event, the Gold Cup, outside of the United States starting from 2015.
He felt it was unfair to the other nations in the region as United States has hosted the tournament every year since 1991.
Webb also wants to introduce a Gold Cup equivalent competition for women's football.
The Caymanian also appointed a new Miami-based general secretary in Enrique Sanz, enabling the CONCACAF head office to relocate to Miami from its posh Manahattan, New York, base.
In the area of banking, Webb has served as business development manager and a director of Fidelity (Cayman) Ltd, one of the largest banks in the Cayman Islands and national agent for the Western Union franchise.
Webb was educated at Tampa College and studied business and finance.
A date and time for a formal awards function is to be announced soon.