Sun, Oct

Ramdhan: TTFA vowing to resume work with Miller, Lavender

The membership of local football will again be called upon to decide on the way forward.

On Friday, the T&T court is expected to rule in favour of the T&T Football Association, being led by William Wallace, as the legitimate administrators of TT football since the sport's world governing body FIFA, did not submit a defence in the matter which comes up against Justice Carol Gobin in the T&T High Court.

Ramesh Ramdhan, who was suspended by the FIFA-appointed Normalisation Committee from hos post as General Secretary, said the TTFA has already begun reaching out to their sponsors to resume talks to pump money into T&T football and thereby jump-start initial plans that they had.

The plan is to convince the membership that the suspension handed to the TTFA on September 24 for its failure to drop a court battle with FIFA over the right to appoint a normalisation committee to manage the sports for the next two years might be a blessing in disguise.

Ramdhan told Guardian Media Sports yesterday that said he has already reached out to Peter Miller, the controversial TTFA marketing representative to resume work, while the multi-million-dollar Lavender deal to construct a multi-purpose sporting, commercial and residential facility above the Arima Velodrome, is still on the table for government's involvement.

Ramdhan said apart from UK sportswear firm Avec Sports and Architectural company Lavender, which is also based in London, the TTFA has secured the support of another sponsor by the name of Danian Prescott, a US-based T&T sportsman who organises sporting events abroad.

According to Ramdhan, Prescott has a lot of sponsors at his fingertip and wants to organise a comprehensive grassroots football league in T&T with the sponsors he has. The league will have attractive prize monies and a total development format. Apart from prize monies for the top teams, an All-Star team will also be selected to visit Charlton Athletic Club in England at the end of the season to play games there.

Ramdhan said once they can convince the membership at an Emergency General Meeting (EGM) to be called after Friday's judgement, the TTFA will get the opportunity it wants to properly restructure local football and introduce a comprehensive development plan, during the period the country would be serving its suspension.

"It was unlikely the country would have qualified for the FIFA 2022 World Cup in Qatar in any way, so the country can put things in place for 2026 which is very realistic. Once we bring the sponsors back then we will have enough money to fund the local game and pay additional bills. We will get football back on its feet better than before. In fact, if better work was done on the Home of Football, then the facility could have been used to create a bio bubble," Ramdhan explained.

The TTFA, as part of its grand plan to revive T&T football, was set to dismantle the T&T Pro League and T&T Super League and replace them with a Premier and First Division tournaments which were set to be given proper names after consultation with the membership earlier this year.

Ramdhan said it was only Brent Sancho, the T&T Pro league chairman and Julia Baptiste, the acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO) who have prevented the start of the action.

"When we came into office, our immediate plans were to fire Dennis Lawrence due to his poor run of results with the national team and to dismantle the T&T Pro League, as it had been anything but progressive. It would have had prize monies, promotion and demotion and television rights, which would have been shared with the clubs. The only thing we requested was for the TTFA to manage the competitions and pay all the clubs, but the Pro League executives did not want that."