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Sun, May

Clinton Urling, former chairman of the 2014 FIFA Normalisation Committee appointed in Guyana.
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FIFA must increase funding for CFU

Clinton Urling, former chairman of the 2014 FIFA Normalisation Committee appointed in Guyana.

Former chairman Guyana Football Federation (GFF) Normalisation Committee, Clinton Urling, is calling for proper representation from the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) if countries like T&T and other regional nations are to combat the issues of finance they are all susceptible too.

Urling who bashed the T&T Football Association's (TTFA) executive for its role in challenging the FIFA for appointing a Normalisation Committee to manage the sport in the country in March, said the time has come for CFU administrators to not just appear at CONCACAF and FIFA meetings and say nothing, but to highlight the financial difficulties regional Member Associations face on a daily basis, and still attempt to compete at international tournaments.

"The reality is, and this is the problem with Caribbean football, not just Trinidad or Guyana, the ability to generate significant funding, is far deficient compared to the ability to pay or to run programmes effectively. To run a football programme for a country and engage in all these requirements, because every country has requirements, you have to engage in compulsory international tournaments and so on, and the cost of pulling those off, out-weighs the ability of the association to raise funds to do that," Urling said.

He noted further: "Even with the subventions coming from FIFA it is still not enough, and that's the problem I have with Caribbean football, we have a lot of these guys, they end up going to CONCACAF and they sit on these boards and they are happy they got positions and they get to travel, but nobody is out there lobbying and talking these things that I am telling you now.

"These federations, they just can't survive, in fact, all of them are in debt, not just Trinidad but almost all of them. And if they are not in debt the programmes have to suffer because you really can't afford to pull them off the way you should, to compete globally and internationally. And until the Caribbean gets effective representation at CONCACAF and at FIFA, that will always be an issue.

"Even if this Normalisation Committee pays the whole debt off, fixes the constitution, change everything there would still be a problem. Trinidad has one of the better football programmes, if not the best in the Caribbean. The players are international players and so forth, and for Trinidad to pull off all the different teams from the various age groups and levels, and then you have grassroots and beach football and all these different things, that subvention can't do anything.

"And now it's exacerbated with COVID-19 for all the territories, so I really hope that Caribbean football gets people who are serious about leading and not just showing up at these things, but advocating to say look we need change and more subventions should be coming to federations across the region."

Urling explained that the GFF is still in huge debt from its participation at the 2018 CONCACAF Gold Cup.

FIFA provides annual subventions of US$1.2 million to its member associations and according to a newspaper report recently, at the TTFA, more than 50 per cent of it is used to pay salaries etc.

Only last week, the TTFA was accepted back into the fold of FIFA after serving a nearly two-month suspension for violation of the FIFA Statutes that prevented the country from participation at FIFA-sanctioned regional and international events.

Its decision to lift the suspension on November 19 came with a huge sigh of relief, after desperate efforts from the membership of the local football and the Court of Appeal to honour the requests of FIFA.

It means also that FIFA-appointed normalisation committee which has a mandate to: run the TTFA's daily affairs; to establish a debt repayment plan that is implementable by the TTFA; to review and amend the TTFA Statutes (and other regulations where necessary) and to ensure their compliance with the FIFA Statutes and requirements before duly submitting them for approval to the TTFA Congress, and to organise and to conduct elections of a new TTFA Executive Committee for a four-year mandate, is now well in trained.

The TTFA has been saddled with a debt of between $50-$80 million, which is expected to be cleared by FIFA. Urling though said he is unsure of whether that debt will be cleared by FIFA or what decision will be put towards it, as he described it as a huge debt.

In a Guardian Media Sports report, some two weeks ago a source revealed that FIFA was expected to cover the debt in full via a loan to the TTFA and deduct it from the yearly subvention.

Urling believes the FIFA should implement review committees for each territorial administration to overlook the programmes and keep the executives in check.