Defeated Trinidad and Tobago Super League presidential candidate Ryan Ottley might have woken up this morning as elected Vice-president. However, Ottley claimed that his commitment to complete transparency and openness, however, prevented him from accepting an offer to run for the position on Keith Look Loy’s slate.
“I need to make the point,” newly elected Trinidad and Tobago Super League (TTSL) president Look Loy told Wired868 today, “that before he declared his candidacy, I had offered Ryan Ottley the opportunity to remain as vice-president, which he declined.”
Ottley confirmed that he had indeed been offered the option of running as Look Loy’s candidate for the post of first vice-president; however, he said, when the offer was made, Look Loy had not yet outlined a strategic plan to take the TTSL forward and he (Ottley) felt that he could not go in blind.
“The reason for me declining would have been that the president never indicated to us what his visions for the League were,” he explained. “And to support a vision that is not there is a bit alarming for me.
“I’m talking about a strategic plan, a manifesto, anything that could say ‘Aye, we are here now and this is where we want to be’.”
The 64-year-old Look Loy, who is a former CONCACAF technical committee member and TTFA technical advisor, defeated his 29-year-old challenger by 14 votes to eight in the inaugural elections which took place at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva last night. Saddle Hill Hotspur, one of the 24 voting clubs, was unrepresented at the meeting while there was also one spoilt ballot. And none of the four persons on Ottley’s slate was able to get the nod over his Look Loy opponent.
Nevertheless, the Flying Officer with the Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force feels that his team did all they could to persuade the TTSL’s 24-strong general membership.
“I don’t think we could have done more,” Ottley told Wired868. “We would have exhausted all our resources to go to the clubs and provide them with a plan and that was our selling point.
“We had a plan and this is what we want to do with the TTSL. What this means to us is that some clubs are satisfied with how things are going and that’s okay…”
Look Loy’s response to the implied criticism that he had failed to share his vision with the League was that he and his team had deliberately not prepared a manifesto document. According to him, his manifesto is his stint as the TTSL’s Interim President and his many years of football service, both of which are there for all to see.
“I thought that I and the people who were there had done good work to get the League up and running and have it started from scratch essentially,” Look Loy told Wired868. “Now that we are in office we will create the strategic plan. That is our first priority to guide us in all these different areas of development.”
Ottley did get two of his pre-election wishes, though, as Guaya United manager Jameson Rigues was elected unopposed as first vice-president while George Joseph of Bethel United is now one of the Board’s three Ordinary Members. Ottley had said publicly on the eve of the elections that his team was impressed with Rigues’ business plan for the League and that their wish was to have Tobago represented at board level at all times.
In the race for the second vice-presidency, Club Sando’s owner Eddison Dean defeated Marvin Wilson by 15 votes to six. There were two absentees and one spoilt ballot.
Joseph, Colin Murray, Stephanie Guevara, Michael Du Four and Clayton Morris vied for the three Board spots as Ordinary Members and Joseph was the runaway winner in round one, collecting 12 of the 21 votes then at stake, three of the total of 24 voters being absent.
Morris’ first round four became 16 in round two, leaving Du Four, Guevara and Murray to battle for the final place. Guevara and Du Four received six and three respectively while Murray, vote-less in the first two rounds, tallied 12.
Importantly, the newly elected TTSL President now has a seat at the head table with the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) Board of Directors. And he is adamant that the League will finally have a chance to let its voice be heard.
“There is a lot that we are not happy with,” he warned. “There is a lot of work that needs to be done in terms of the administration of the TTFA, the decision-making process at the TTFA and the decisions that are arrived at with the TTFA.
“Now, we will have access to information that we did not have before and now we will have the opportunity to make our input on how the association is run and how decisions are made.”
Pointing to the recent re-appointments of Anton Corneal as TTFA Technical Director and Jamaal Shabazz as the senior women’s football coach, Look Loy stated that local football’s governing body needs to be kept on its toes where the development of football in the country is concerned.
Prior to last night’s election, the TTSL also held a meeting with its general membership to ratify their promotion and relegation system–two teams will be demoted and two teams will be promoted from the various tiers of the League–and appoint Robert George to the Audit and Compliance Committee.
The meeting also agreed, Wired868 was informed, that TTSL’s proposed Caribbean Football Trust Limited (CFTL)-backed ‘All Star’ gig will now be modified to pit a TTSL All-Star team against a Jamaica Premier League All-Star team on 15 October.
A second exhibition game will see the World XI, which should include Brazil legends Ronaldinho and Cafu, now facing off against the Trinbago Oilers FC unit from the Islands Cup tournament, which is also backed by CFTL.
CFTL, chaired by Chris Anderson, has already pumped $550,000 in sponsorship behind the TTSL for two knockout tournaments,
However, Ottley questioned the wisdom of making room for these matters on an agenda that includes so important an item as an inaugural election.
“People come to an election to do exactly one thing and that is to vote,” Ottley declared. “I believe that a meeting before the election can work in two ways. It can allow for electioneering and campaigning on one side and then it could also be allowed to discredit a candidate’s views or perspective on a matter.”
Look Loy responded obliquely to the objection, treating the issue of the need for foreign investors since the local corporate sector seems less than interested.
“What we are going to do is develop a road map, a strategic plan. I don’t want to sound clichéd [but] there is a shortfall in local investment so we have already started that with our budding investment with Caribbean Football Trust Limited. And we are going to be proceeding with that kind of approach.”
From Day One, therefore, Look Loy is already charting a clear course for the TTSL ship. The general membership which has put its fate in his hands will be looking forward to plain sailing from here on in.