Sat, Jul

Colin Wharfe (left), Kieron Edwards (right)

The stage has been set!

Battle lines have been drawn in the sand or should I say on the football fields?

The answer is no, this is not about football on the field of play with 22 footballers giving their all, despite on some occasions the best intentions of some officials (Referees, Assistant Referees and VAR officials) to do otherwise.

As April 13 draws near, there are many who have openly stated their fear that we are heading for a 'Black Saturday' no matter the result of this two-slate battle. And the reality is, that is what it is, because it is a pity that everyone could not work together in the best interest of sports and have one slate because this is not politics. right?

No, no, wrong, it is and sadly therein lies my fear that we are finding ourselves entangled in football politics, very similar to the red and yellow politics that many bemoan openly but support quietly.

There is already a strong belief that one group is heavily favoured by the opposition and may not receive government support if they win, which must not be tolerated if true.

On the other side, we are being told, that this slate is being touted as a FIFA team and unless they win, FIFA will take their promises and rewards away, again this must never be a consideration in voting.

So, who can we trust?

We can start by trusting ourselves and asking pertinent questions, such as: "How did T&T’s football reach here in the first place? What can be done to avoid that re occurrence and who should we endorse to achieve such?

For me, it is simple, not complex, amidst all the chest puffing by some on either side, we (the people of T&T) have not heard enough on strategy, a short-term plan, a roadmap for the future and perhaps the reason is simple. There are only 57 votes available so to many, it is possible the people of T&T do not matter.

However, unless these myopic souls forget, football belongs to the people of the country and if we are forgotten and ostracised, football will not grow in the schools (both primary and secondary) and also in the communities, ultimately leading to no progress, no matter who wins.

That is why we must demand to hear the leaders speak on their plans and methods for the execution of such. We also need to temper the rhetoric coming from one side more than the other and hope that the greater interest of football is fought out fairly.

If what we have been told by well-informed sources then, there may have been betrayals along the way in terms of promises made by one group or person to another. Or maybe it was naively by one veteran to another believing that one man’s word was his bond.

Those 57 votes and those empowered with such power must seek to use it intelligently and not allow personal preferences to rule good sense or money to rule integrity or favour to rule transparency.

As the data continues to suggest that it will be closer than many expected and last-minute conscious votes may override all in the end, there must be a temptation to be wary for the next 3-6 months under a new ruler given our history.

As I peruse the list of contestants in the raging war ahead, there are some I would stay far away from even if I was given a free pass and I believe those involved in football are quite aware of the machinations of these. Naturally, a person can change his coat and appearance but not their character or history. There is a clear and present danger with some who have challenged before for positions and failed or pulled out because they could not satisfy.

So, we need to hear from Messrs Colin Wharfe and Kieron Edwards about their intentions and then we can judge them sincerely for ourselves and it both cases it may assist in clearing any doubts in one or other. Of course, if both or either one is afraid to face scrutiny before April 13, then that should be a massive warning sign, which I am certain all concerned, footballers, stakeholder’s public, corporate T&T and government can decide accordingly.

Football cannot afford another period of turmoil but instead, we need unity and teamwork to succeed against the growing number of opponents our teams will need going forward.

So here are my questions to both men on their prospective slates and the way ahead:

1 - What did you promise to your individual members on your slate? (a question which may very well define how their time in office will perform in the interest of football rather than a group or club)

2 - If you lose, will you say to the media that you are willing to work with the winning team but in reality, walk away with your team and seek to undermine them?

3 - Where is the finance for your campaign coming from, your pocket or that of others (unknown)?

4 - What are your plans for Men’s and Women’s football and why should people trust you?

There are probably a lot more questions that need honest answers, not a bunch of platitudes from persons seeking votes.

It will be interesting to observe some of what lies ahead, with many already foreseeing a number of dirty tactics being employed by some connected to one group or another. One has to have faith in the electorate on the day and those in control of such on the said committee, but that does not say, that we should not in advance question and ensure as best as possible all votes are properly counted.

According to the Revised Constitution, The Congress (those who can vote) is composed as follows:

a - for each licensed club in the T&T Premier Football League Tier 1 for a maximum of twelve (12) clubs: two votes per club represented by one delegate. If the number of licenced clubs in the T&T Premier Football League Tier 1 is more than twelve (12), the top twelve (12) in the standings of the T&T Premier Football League Tier 1 at the end of the most recent T&T Premier Football League season will participate in the Congress with voting rights as per this paragraph

b - for each licensed club that finished in the top six (6) in the standings of the T&T Premier Football League Tier 2 at the end of the most recent T&T Premier Football League season: two votes per club represented by one delegate. However, a club cannot vote in both Tier 1 and Tier 2. Therefore, if this applies the next Tier2 licenced club in the standings will be entitled to vote.

c - for each regional association: two votes per regional association represented by one delegate;

d - for the Beach Soccer Association of T&T: one vote, one delegate;

e - for the Futsal Association of T&T: one vote, one delegate;

f - for the Trinidad and Tobago Football Referees Association: one vote, one delegate;

g - for the Unified Football Coaches Association of T&T: one vote, one delegate;

h - for T&T Women's League Football: two votes represented by one delegate;

i - for Secondary Schools Football League: one vote, one delegate;

j - for Primary Schools Football League: one vote, one delegate;

k - for the Veteran Footballers Foundation of T&T: one vote, one delegate.

My other concern is as follows, if there is not an attendance of 57, but an even number such as 56 or 54 and there is a tie, what is next?

According to the revised Constitution, this is the answer for many in doubt:

- In case of a tied vote in the elections of the Executive Committee, two new ballots shall be conducted in accordance with the procedure set forth in this article. If the tied vote remains, the relevant position shall remain vacant until a new elective Congress convenes to proceed with new elections according to these Statutes. In the case of a tied vote in the elections, a second round of voting shall be conducted in accordance with the procedure set forth in this article. In case the third round concludes with a tie as well, the list will be designated by a draw of lots conducted by the chairperson of the Electoral Committee.

So let us observe and wish the best from all both in voting and in ideas for our football, particularly, on the field ideas for men and women at all levels.

SOURCE: T&T Guardian