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Tue, Jun

Accountant Kareem Paul, new TTFA general secretary.
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Accountant Kareem Paul is the new general secretary of the T&T Football Association (TTFA).

He came highly recommended as the replacement for Amiel Mohammed, who according to vice president Colin Murray, was “burnt out and didn’t want to stay on in the position”. The appointment was made at the weekend by the executive, led by new president Keiron Edwards based on a recommendation.

Mohammed’s tenure was said to be nearing its end, as it coincided with the appointment from the FIFA-installed normalisation committee, which time in office officially came to an end, last month.

Murray, a well-known sports commentator, said the executive sat and reviewed the resume of Paul and all found that he was the best choice for the job.

“He also has a football background which added to making him the preferred choice. Everybody was pretty impressed with his resume,” Murray said.

President Edwards is expected to introduce Paul to the public, as well as meet the media for the first time since being elected into office on April 13.

Mohammed entered the position of general secretary as a replacement for Ramesh Ramdhan, the former referee who became only the first referee from the Caribbean to officiate in the FIFA World Cup Finals during the 1998 FIFA World Cup held in France. Ramdhan was a member of the then William Wallace-led Football Association which defeated the David John-Williams-led administration in 2019.

Three months after assuming office, the Wallace-led administration was removed by the sport’s world governing body - FIFA and a normalisation committee was installed on the basis that the new executive had put the sport on the verge of bankruptcy and insolvency.

The normalisation committee, which then comprised chairman Robert Hadad, Nigel Romano, and Judy Daniel at the time, retained Ramdhan as general secretary briefly. However, Mohammed was appointed as the general secretary after Ramdhan was suspended, and an inquiry was held in September 2020.

Mohammed is a graduate of Queen’s Royal College who served as a Media and Communications officer for local pro league club Central FC, a Communications and Logistics Officer for the 2015 Women’s Premier League, Digital Media and Web Coordinator for the 2017 T&T Super League in the TTSL Secretariat, a freelance journalist, and a Project Coordinator for numerous projects geared towards sport and youth development and the inclusion of the differently-abled community.

Paul was invited to the local organising committee meeting on Saturday at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Mucurapo, Port-of-Spain, and it is believed that Mohammed may stay on to usher him into the new position. Another TTFA executive told Guardian Media that it is uncertain if Mohammed will leave the association or if he will be retained in another position.

Meanwhile, recommendations to fill some of the standing committees in the football associations have been made, the executive said. The committees include the Competitions and Tournaments, Finance, Women’s Football, Referees, and the Marketing Committee.

Though the names of the members of the committees were not revealed, it is understood that each of the executive members will be put to chair them.

Murray told Guardian Media Sports yesterday that while the new general secretary has been an important appointment for his administration, they are focussed on tonight’s key World Cup qualifier between this country and Grenada at the Hasely Crawford Stadium from 7.30 pm.

The Soca Warriors’ Group B encounter will be followed by a second match against the Bahamas on Saturday in the Bahamas.