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Wed, May

President of the Southern Football Association (SFA), Denis Latiff
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PROSPECTIVE TT Football Association (TTFA) presidential candidate Denis Latiff says the general feeling among the TTFA membership is one of relief following the confirmation of the April 13 date for the elections of the new TTFA executive.

Latiff said he has as good a chance as any at winning the upcoming TTFA presidential race, and he believes he and his team have what it takes to bring back corporate T&T into the local football landscape after many aspects of the local game received insufficient attention under the Fifa-appointed normalisation committee.

On Tuesday, TTFA general secretary Amiel Mohammed confirmed the election date to the TTFA membership, with the new TTFA executive committee set to be instituted at an extraordinary congress. Potential candidates for the nine executive committee positions must confirm their candidature to the TTFA general secretariat for the respective posts on or before February 28. The TTFA general secretariat must then disseminate the official list of candidates to the TTFA membership by April 3.

Latiff, president of the Southern Football Association (SFA), has indicated his desire to contest for the presidential post, alongside Veterans Football Foundation of TT (VFFoTT) president Selby Browne and Eastern Football Association (EFA) president Kieron Edwards. On Tuesday, Mohammed told Newsday, “Technically, I have received no formal communication from anybody (regarding the TTFA presidency).”

Speaking to Newsday on Wednesday, Latiff said he was in the process of finalising his nine-member slate and submitting his nomination to the TTFA. Last week, Browne told Newsday he and his team will launch their campaign and manifesto after a meeting with the VFFoTT executive after the Carnival season.

“Everybody is glad for the election date,” Latiff told Newsday. “Whatever it means to them, everybody has a sense of relief. I am feeling pretty good about the election.”

With the election date now confirmed, the normalisation committee, which was appointed by Fifa in March 2020, has received an extension to April 30 at the latest to fulfill Fifa’s mandate.

“We are working to get this together now. We are coming strong. It is about time we get football back where it needs to be. The normalisation committee did not do anything for football itself. They were just being told what to do,” said the Tiger Tanks CEO.

“They did not look at a wide range of necessities for T&T football. Fifa just told them to do this and do that, and that was it. But many people have suffered. The teams have suffered. Many of the members have had disagreements. The zones have not been helped at all.”

Latiff said T&T’s football cannot maximise its potential if the football at the grassroots and regional level is not given the respect and attention it deserves.

“We must help the zones. That is where the footballers are coming from. You will not produce good footballers if you do not have the necessary tools like coaching and funding to host tournaments,” Latiff said.

“It is difficult. I am the head of the SFA right now and I am telling you it is difficult.”

Without revealing the names of the people in his slate, Latiff said they have substantial backgrounds in areas such as sport, business, management, law and human resources. He said it was important to have a versatile slate with expertise in various topics.

“These positions ensure that we will have all the necessary tools (to handle the TTFA office). We are going to have a wide range,” Latiff said.

A holder of an LLM in Business Law, Latiff is hoping to lean on his experience in the business field to firstly sway the TTFA membership in April, and also reinvigorate the TTFA’s external business operations.

“(T&T football) needs proper management and proper auditing. Sponsors and businesses want to be updated every time, because they want to see where their money is going,” Latiff said.

“I am a member of the Energy Chamber... they do not want to commit to the TTFA right now because they are afraid of where the money goes or does not go.”

Critically, four years ago, Fifa removed the then William Wallace-led TTFA executive and appointed the Robert normalisation committee after they found extremely low overall financial management methods being implemented by the TTFA, to go along with massive debt incurred by the local football body.

He said the operation of TTFA’s business side is just as important as the on-field product from the varying national teams.

“This is the business of football, not the game of football. The business of football gets (you) everything to play the game of football,” Latiff said.

“With that in mind, I think I have a fair chance of going and winning the TTFA presidency and bringing back the business people to the table.”

According to Article 30 par. 4 in the amended TTFA statutes, “Every slate in the election for positions within the executive committee, shall be proposed, in writing, by at least five members. Each member shall support one slate only.”

Latiff said he has no problem with the implementation of slates ahead of the TTFA election, and he said he and his team are willing to work together for the greater good of T&T football.

“Going up with a slate and you have everybody beforehand and everyone is committed, and everybody is one the same page going into the election – that is what you need.

“I do not mind that change at all.”

Latiff and his team have two weeks to make their push for the TTFA executive spots official.

Trinidad and Tobago Football Association elections set for April 13

The Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) will elect a new president and accompanying slate to oversee the affairs of TT's football on April 13, 2024 via an extraordinary congress.

TTFA general secretary Amiel Mohammed confirmed the election date via a press release on Tuesday.

The release said, "The normalisation committee of the TTFA has officially convened an extraordinary congress to be held on Saturday April 13, 2024 where the elections of the new TTFA executive committee shall take place."

Candidates vying for the nine executive committee positions must officially submit their names to the TTFA general secretariat on or before February 28 via "recorded post, email with delivery notification, or delivered by hand" in accordance with Article 8 par. 2 of the TTFA electoral code. The general secretariat must then circulate the official list of candidates to the TTFA membership by April 3.

With the election date now set for April 13, the TTFA's normalisation committee, who were set to demit office on March 31, effectively received another extension to fulfill the mandate given to them by Fifa with the new extension being pushed to April 30 at the latest.

On Monday, a letter from Fifa general secretary ad interim Mattias Grafstrom to normalisation committee chairman Robert Hadad said the extension was necessary in this instance to facilitate the staging of the election in two months' time.

"In view of the specific timeframe established in the new TTFA Statutes, requiring a minimum of 60 days for the normalisation committee to convene an 8elective congress and for candidates to submit their candidatures to the general secretariat of the TTFA, the elections for a new TTFA executive committee will statutorily not be able to take place before the end of the normalisation committee's mandate (i.e. before March 31, 2024).

"In order to allow the normalisation committee to fulfill the final tasks of its mandate (i.e. organise and conduct elections of a new TTFA executive committee for a four-year mandate), the (Fifa) Bureau decided on February 12 to extend the mandate of the normalisation committee until April 30 at the latest."

The trio of Selby Browne, Veterans Football Foundation of TT (VFFoTT) president, Kieron Edwards, Eastern Football Association president and Dennis Latiff, Southern Football Association president, have all indicated their desire to run for the post of TTFA president, with Browne also saying his nine-member slate for the election has already been formed.

However, Mohammed told Newsday, "Technically, I have received no formal communication from anybody (regarding the TTFA presidency)."

Mohammed said the normalisation committee, in its capacity as the electoral committee, will appoint independent people to oversee the election process. He said the names have already been proposed to the TTFA membership.

As agreed to in the new TTFA statutes which were established in an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) on January 28, the 12 TT Premier Football League (TTPFL) tier one clubs which contested in its inaugural season, along with last season's top six TTPFL tier two clubs – bar Police FC – will all be afforded two votes in the elections. Each of the six regional associations and the TT Women's League Football also have two votes.

The remaining associations such as beach soccer, coaches, futsal, referees, Primary Schools Football League, Secondary Schools Football League and the VFFoTT all have one vote each.

In March 2020, the Bureau of the FIFA Council removed the then William Wallace-led TTFA executive and appointed a normalisation committee after they found extremely low overall financial management methods, combined with massive debt and a very real risk of insolvency and illiquidity.