Fri, Jun

Chairman of the Normalisation Committee, Robert Hadad

There can be fewer hotter heads in the land right now than those of the Prime Minister, Minister of Health, the Chief Medical officer and his staff. Blame it on the insidious Covid-19.

But these must also be very uncomfortable times for Robert Hadad. As a businessman, he probably has to work some minor miracles to cope with the fallout that from Covid and the Government restrictions are producing for employers and their employees. And specifically as the man tasked principally with bringing normalcy to the finances of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association, Hadad and the fellow members of his normalisation committee have a near mission impossible to perform.

Nearly 14 months into the job that is supposed to last two years, it doesn’t appear that he is succeeding.

In his end of year message in December, Hadad tried to sound positive and progressive.

“We have encountered a trying and difficult year and we are looking forward to a brighter 2021. What we put into our football now, determines the end result...

“We are currently focused on a strategic planning process as it is imperative that our plan is locked in place and becomes a blueprint for long-term growth and stability. I take this opportunity to thank all our stakeholders for their ongoing support and patience over the past few months. We have and will continue to invest significant time and energy into getting the best outcome for the country.”

Sounded good

In that message Hadad had also promised:”We will update you on our plans as they evolve, as we work towards being in a position to share our future strategies. Additionally we are currently in a process of forging stronger relationships with our existing partners and stakeholders and do have plans to ensure they are part of our future success.”

But as the months have passed, the patience of the “stakeholders” seems to be running out and the relationship between the committee and the wider football community appears as harmonious as was the one between Hadad’s group and the deposed administration of William Wallace. I’m sure you recall the legal to-ing and fro-ing, the suspending and all the rest that occurred last year when FIFA decided to get rid of Wallace and his duly elected team.

There is no FIFA threat now, but discontent is simmering.

Coaches and technical staff have continued to complain about salaries owed. And in recent weeks, strongly-worded missives have appeared separately in the media from the coaches association and a group of stakeholders complaining about how the normalisation committee has been conducting its business.

“To date, there has been no communication between the normalisation committee and the members of the TTFA, no monthly management reports presented to members since the committee’s appointment in March 2020, no budgets or projected cash flow statements for the year 2021. Please note as members of the TTFA we are very concerned about the lack of transparency and accountability regarding the day-to-day affairs of the Association,” the concerned stakeholders wrote in part in a 15-page letter copied to FIFA.

The group also questioned the quality of the normalisation committee’s decision-making when it came to the recent appointments of foreign coaches.

“In an already cash-strapped environment, would it not be more prudent to retain our well capable local coaches for a reasonable cost? We the members are of the opinion that this is not financially prudent and it clearly illustrates poor financial management which is contrary to your instructions given by FIFA.”

In response, Hadad promised to meet with the group and respond to what he claimed were some inaccuracies in their claims. But up to the weekend past, no talks had taken place.

The media have been no more successful in getting details out of the normalisation people. Just why Hadad is so reluctant to engage with the people in football is anyone’s guess.

No doubt he has taken on an onerous job with no easy solutions. But trust has to be built at some point.

As finance people delving into football business, Hadad and his committee need those with the football expertise to help them run the game. Just to what extent the normalisation committee is using those resources is not clear at all.

From the noises of the stakeholders, one would have to say they are relying on a precious few.

Covid-19 has made the playing of the game impossible. But those who have played football, including Hadad, will know that team mates need to talk during a match. They need to alert each other to danger from the opposition or of the chance to launch an attack themselves. Victory on the field could depend on good calling.

So Mr Hadad, it’s more than time to do some real talking.

SOURCE: T&T Express