June 30, 2015 / 4:38 PM / 3 years ago

UPDATE 2-CONCACAF retains adviser to help clean house after FIFA scandal

(Adds details and background)

By Euan Rocha

TORONTO, June 30 (Reuters) - CONCACAF, the regional body that oversees soccer in North and Central America, said on Tuesday it has retained restructuring specialist Alvarez & Marsal to assess its operations and help it clean house in the wake of the FIFA bribery scandal.

A number of former CONCACAF officials, including former president Jeffrey Webb and his predecessor, Jack Warner, have been ensnared and indicted in the scandal, which has grabbed headlines across the globe.

CONCACAF, or the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football, said Alvarez & Marsal will do a four- to five-week review of CONCACAF’s operations and recommend certain improvements to financial reporting processes, spending and cash-flow management, third-party vendor relationship management, and organizational effectiveness.

“This will help ensure the confederation operates at the highest level of organizational efficiency and accountability going forward,” Ted Howard, CONCACAF’s acting general secretary, said in a statement.

Reuters reported last week that the confederation’s lead sponsor, Bank of Nova Scotia, had warned the regional soccer body that it will withhold funds from its sponsorship deal unless CONCACAF cleans house. Sources familiar with the matter also told Reuters at the time that CONCACAF had retained top-tier restructuring advisers and legal counsel to tackle the situation.

The soccer group’s former general secretary, Chuck Blazer, pleaded guilty in 2013 to various bribery and financial offences and is cooperating with authorities.

Others with CONCACAF ties who have been indicted include Costas Takkas, the former attache to the president, Eduardo Li, a former executive committee member, and Julio Rocha, a FIFA development officer from Nicaragua, who had been inducted into CONCACAF’s Hall of Fame.

CONCACAF said Carlos Vincentelli, a managing director based at Alvarez & Marsal’s Miami office, will lead a team evaluating its finances and operations.

New York-based Alvarez & Marsal has played a role in numerous restructurings over the years, notably the dismantling of Lehman Brothers following the financial crisis.

CONCACAF said it has also engaged Global Strategy Group to assist with communications regarding its reform efforts, while Sidley Austin will continue to serve as its legal counsel.

Sources familiar with the matter had told Reuters last week that Scotiabank has demanded a roadmap on exactly how CONCACAF will deal with the alleged corruption in its operations as well as details on the mechanisms it would put in place to clean up the situation and prevent such problems in the future. (Reporting by Euan Rocha; Editing by Peter Galloway)

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