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Sun, Jun

Team Progressive, the winner of the 2024 TTFA Election
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Congratulations to Kieron Edwards, new president of the Tri­nidad and Tobago Football Association after a landslide victory, 38 votes to 19 against the opponent, Colin Wharfe.

This win was testimony to the successful outcome of the meeting convened between then candidates Dennis Latiff, Edwards and myself, held on March 26. That meeting, I insisted was in fact the election, and not April 13, to ensure the outright victory for president Edwards, once the necessary compromise was agreed to have the election conducted between two slates only.

The resultant victory has ushered in the next generation of the TTFA with the youth—president Edwards, vice-president Jameson Rigues—and another important contributor, Renee John-Williams, who was unfortunately a member of the opposing slate, all having the responsibility to restructure, develop and move football upward and onward to achieve excellence, based on the call of president Edwards to all members to participate in the best interests of Trinidad and Tobago football.

The TTFA election was a perfect example of the proper conduct of the Elective Congress, with the participation of all delegates who ensured all allocated votes were cast in the presence of representatives from the Caribbean Football Union, CONCACAF and FIFA as has been done for past elections in 2015 and 2019.

Other national bodies will be well advised to emulate the example of the TTFA membership in how it conducted its business.

The unified TTFA membership, in support of new president Edwards, shall be guided by his vision and initiatives as outlined in his Team Progressive manifesto. And in keeping with his undertaking, all can provide their input and contri­bute to the further development of the new TTFA strategic plan, 2024 and beyond, thereby embracing the commitment to build from the ground up.

The new TTFA will have the benefit of the full support from the world governing body FIFA and regional organisations CONCACAF and Caribbean Football Union as all members within the Caribbean and CONCACAF enjoy.

New governance of the TTFA

The plan for an open-door policy, along with a cutting-edge ivory league team of professionals, all of whom are masters in their own disciplines, is highly recommended and will prove extremely important.

With the amended TTFA constitution providing for certain committees to be headed by members of the executive, there would most certainly be room to include professional personnel on committees to ensure proper governance.

There is the need to attract nationals with sport business administration skills. They must be sourced whether they are based nationally or internationally.

Opportunities

The revenue generation assets of the TTFA, which include the national senior men’s team—the pro­duct by which the TTFA would be judged—must be considered a top priority for urgent and immediate attention. That unit must receive any required technical and professional support, along with strategic international marketing.

The strong TTFA must also make use of the football expertise within its ranks. Also, maximum benefit must be gained from earning revenue from the Home of Football, in addition to sourcing other invest­ment opportunities. There must be a return on investment.

There is also huge potential for the restructured TTFA to directly strengthen the zones. The conduct of competitive zonal football through community leagues, with primary schools, secondary schools and adult clubs competing, could prove to be an important initiative if undertaken. This will have the effect of an immediate reduction on tra­vel costs to teams and supporters, in addition to re-engineering the community socio-structurally, creating much-needed job opportunities and positive activity. The youths in these communities would be kept busy training, playing and striving for excellence. Gang warfare would become football warfare. You see where this is going? Up and up, better, and better, best and best. So, yes, all our citizens and the Government would benefit from the TTFA’s work.

The strengthening of the zones to embrace all football, from primary schools through college age, could go a long way in raising the level of entertainment to the standard we have long been famous for.

The TTFA has the benefit to work with Government to establish “football schools”. The vision must be to dominate world football in very much the same way that Jamaica dominates the Olympics and World Championships on the athlet­ics tracks, and the Brazilians have done so on the football field.

Financing and the Caribbean on the global stage in sport, entertainment

In addition to securing international financing and investment in the football, it is my view that the recognised power of football, and sports in general, will trigger the need to restructure the socio­e­conomic construct of our society. Government should impose a levy (2.5%) based on gross revenue on corporations. The sums should be placed in a fund for direct investment in football, sport in general, and the entertainment sector as a whole.

These sectors should no longer be dependent on the benevolence of the corporate sector, with token sponsorships being largely forthcoming. They must have direct investment opportunities. The entertainment sector, of which sport is an integral part, is second only to the energy sector in the region.

The Government and all Caribbean governments must take the lead for this “new world order”. All are welcome to join the new world order revolution.

In closing, I would like to take this opportunity to call on the Government, all national institutions, political parties, the trade union movement, chambers of commerce, financial institutions and Jane and Joe Public to take this last train and join in this “movement of change” to have football, all sports disciplines and the entertainment sector take their rightful place of influence in society. The 2.5% gross revenue corporate tax must become a reality.

This model can be replicated throughout the Caribbean, Africa and worldwide for the new world order.

This TTFA election can be the launch of this “movement” throughout the region.

And now that the Caricom Regional Conference on West Indies Cricket is concluded, there is no better opportunity for Caribbean governments to collectively implement the 2.5% policy to provide the funding required for the restructuring and development of the West Indies cricket product, and thus facilitate a return to global excellence.

—Selby Browne is president of the Veteran Footballers Foundation of Trinidad and Tobago (VFFOTT) and was at one time in the running to contest the TTFA election 2024.


SOURCE: T&T Express