Although my duties at Concacaf and Fifa have been in the area of technical and football oriented issues, it would have been remiss of me if I did not seek to learn from the management style of the most popular international Sports federation in the world.
Admittedly, it was not difficult to recognise the efficiency of Fifa if one wished to judge them on the basis of their competence in running World Cup activities in countries which are not first world in every aspect of the word. So when the president of the TTFA delightfully mentioned to the country that Concacaf has given strict instructions to all the Caribbean countries to demand from their affiliated clubs, the level of management which will provide evidence of club structure, and annual financial statements, I was encouraged to see the revival and reinforcement of this requirement.
There is even a deadline date for clubs in the country to provide these details to the TTFA and failure to do same, these clubs will not be able to participate in the national competitions.
Strangely enough, this principle has always been the policy of Fifa, simply because their desire was to have well run management in each country. They granted some huge financial subventions to each country in order to raise the quality of good administrative practices.
However, there seemed to be much of a secret for the administrators who were mandated to streamline the organisational function of the country’s football.
The only problem with that structure was that the instructions from Fifa which should have come from the members of the hierarchy from the CFU and Concacaf, hardly ever reached the ears of the ordinary clubs.
Even the countries themselves were not adhering to the instructions of Fifa, even though the funding was being handed over as regular as was promised.
The stagnancy of the Caribbean countries as far as the quality of the game and the management teams, appeared to be non-functional and the leaders in Switzerland made efforts to enquire about the reasons for the failure of their financial aid to reap the benefits for the region. It is well known that the majority of the Caribbean countries were never presenting audited financial statements to Concacaf and Fifa for many years.
Surely, the new regime may have done similar surveys and came up with the new pattern whereby, the demand was made through Concacaf, that all clubs in the region must provide these details to their associations in order to retain their membership.
Excellent! This important step will be the ideal recipe for competence in the future, especially when we are all aware that there are a number of “teams” playing football than “organised Clubs,” which means that audited statements are like speaking broken Dutch to many of the management committees. Having said that, should there be a successful attempt to get these requests from the clubs, the stability of our football will rise rapidly, but in the offices and on the football fields.
Poor management and insular behaviour from a few over ambitious people, created the dismantling of the major leagues across the country through the use of numerous extraordinary, and sometimes unorthodox administrative adjustments. Having learned much from some of the finest experts in Sports Administration such as deceased Eric James, Ken Galt, Ernil Paul, St Elmo Gopaul, Oscar Harvey, and a few others in the era of the fifties to the seventies, it was easy to understand why the club structure which was as solid as Malvern, Maple, Casuals, Shamrock, Colts, Dynamos, Juniors, Lantern Giants, Sporting club, Naiads, Corinthians, Ebonites, and all the well-managed clubs in the East, Central, South, have deteriorated totally in a short space of time.
Each of these clubs had regular meetings, communicated with their members, demanded monthly fees from each member, player or not, and best of all, they had club houses, they enjoyed social activity among their members and friends. In other words, there was the creation of bringing together members in our societies to live, laugh, play harmoniously, and still compete against each other among thousands of fans.
The sport then, never depended upon Fifa or any other international organisation and are not known to be in debt after their successful seasons.
So the challenge has been thrown at the current “clubs” to put together their financial statements before a particular date, otherwise they will not be able to re-join the arms of the TTFA.
I believe that it is fair, it is a step forward, and should be pursued. However, the example must come from the top of the table, and our friends at the head of the association must be prepared to assist these clubs while they are taking care of their own audited financial statements at year end.
The foundation seem to have started with the expansion of having their own stadium, land space for two training fields, a hotel and the funds to do same.
If the request from Concacaf to the TTFA regarding these new concepts is implemented, maybe we shall see a better future for the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association.