THE EDITOR: Today, a rusty T&T men’s football team plays a revamped Wales team. With a population of just over three million, Wales forms the United Kingdom with England and Scotland. In 2013, Wales opened Dragon Park, a similar football facility/project to our “home of football.”
In 2015 when the current TTFA (T&T Football Association) assumed office, T&T’s men were 49th in the FIFA (International Federation of Association Football) rankings and has today dropped to 93rd. In 2012, Wales was ranked 83rd and is now 19th; with the potential to play any team in the world.
Its massive climb took time but wasn’t solely due to a facility. It was aided by an overhaul of grassroot development, increased competitions, training programmes, national team development, better finance management and, most importantly, good administration.
In researching, I found no instances of administration practices similar to our TTFA. This isn’t to say the Wales FA does not have politics, disagreements, differences, but the trend was overall support for good administration – accountability, transparency, independence [limited internal political interference], inclusion [particularly women and grassroots development], and unanimous practice to follow its FA’s constitution and laws. Simple!
On our end, we see the opposite. The TTFA has no strategic plan, is still millions of dollars in debt, with further debt looming with the president’s legal battles/decisions; no preparation for women and youth teams, secrecy in hiring and contracts of coaches, lack of information at board level, little accountability for funding etc.
Even the FIFA US$2.5 million grant for the “home of football” facility, while a great asset, seems shrouded in secrecy with no one publicly going on record to provide detailed costs, tenders, payments, budgets etc. No wonder national sponsors stay out.
To hear members overlook, discredit or silently gag legitimate questioning reminds me of the TTFF (T&T Football Federation) under Jack Warner. Where are the morals or voices of members who should want better for TT football after the Warner era, or are self-serving agendas the reason for acceptance?
By supporting poor administration, members allow creeping dictatorship which leads to secrecy, manipulation, incompetence, stagnation and eventual organisational failure and debt.
Only the TTFA membership can break this cycle if the association is to climb the world rankings and dig itself out of financial debt. The public, fans and players can’t.
Our football needs a revamp and principled leadership to set the trend. With the TTFA elections and qualifiers for the 2022 Qatar World Cup later this year, we have a real opportunity to put our house in order.
If Wales can climb from 83rd to 19th, I see no reason why the TTFA can’t be in the top 40. But, more importantly, under good administration with ethics and transparency, running like a profitable business to develop our youth/women/men national teams, referees, coaches, administrators and clubs. Best of luck to our players in our match against Wales. It should be an eye-opener, both on and off the field.
DAVID GEORGE via e-mail
SOURCE: T&T Newsday