Wed, Mar


The ongoing dispute between FIFA (Federation Internationale de Football Association) and United TTFA (Trinidad and Tobago Football Association) represents the quest, though one might say lust, for power and control of football and its rights.

United TTFA clearly demonstrates its unfortunate belief that holding on to power is far more important than football in T&T.

Despite numerous attempts by FIFA, as well as other stakeholders, that United TTFA should forego litigation at the local courts and seek justice at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) based on the statutes of FIFA, inadvisable legal recommendations, it seems, were proffered which United TTFA hungrily grasped, to the further disadvantage of local football.

Whether FIFA is right or not, the ability to make this determination will take years and very great sums of money, which United TTFA does not have, given its estimated $100 million in debt. The current legal fees being paid to attorneys representing United TTFA may have been better spent in decreasing this debt.

FIFA may be considered corrupt or a bully or using bullying tactics, but it ­controls world football and has the ­requisite resources to control and dictate the game of football.

How important is football to T&T? Clearly, FIFA believes it is, resulting in its appointment of a normalisation committee. Hasn’t this committee been formed to address perceived corruption and mismanagement in local football? Why then are attempts being made to disregard its value? One would expect alacrity in working with any entity that FIFA appoints to address alleged corruption and bad debts which have placed local football in the doldrums.

The very poor defences of the deposed president and team of United TTFA are negatively impacting local football and resulting in apathy by the general public for such a great sport. How can there be buy-in to local football when there really is no proper leadership of it? Proficient leadership should be based on sufficient technical skills, hard work and experience to enable effective decision-ma­king, but definitely not on ego trips!

Is it any wonder then why local football is in such shambles and the senior football teams are known more for losses than wins, despite having great local ­footballers who showcase their skills and shine ­internationally?

The answer seems to lie in potential mismanagement and poor leadership. T&T’s poor football showing, primarily owing to very poor sportsmanship by past and present leaders of its football association, is made worse by its suspension from world football by FIFA.

The ongoing action by United TTFA clearly shows its disdain and disregard for local football, otherwise it could have been seeking a win-win resolution with FIFA and CAS while acceding to the wishes of FIFA to have a normalisation committee in place and while arbitration is being pursued.

It is unbelievably sad when a few people, purportedly seeking their own interests, can relegate such a beautiful sport as football to the benches, all because of false pride. Unless true leadership and responsibility are demonstrated by United TTFA, local football will continue to flounder.

As it stands, United TTFA is ­red-carded for its uncaring attitude towards local football.

Harjoon Heeralal

SOURCE: T&T Express