The Ascension Football Tournament's scheduled start in March may not happen after all. At least so it seems.
The tournament, despite receiving the go-ahead by the return-to-sport order by Minister of Health Terrance Deyalsingh and his colleague Shamfa Cudjoe, the Minister of Sports and Community Development on Monday, did not receive endorsement from the T&T Football Association.
Guardian Media Sports was reliably informed on Thursday that only the Tiger Tanks Under-20 National Football Tournament which will be put on by businessman Denis Latiff, was given the go-ahead to have a competition to date. However, this can change in the coming days or weeks.
The Tiger Tanks tourney is scheduled to kick off on March 3 and will feature 10 teams from Trinidad and another five from the sister isle of Tobago over an eight-week period.
It is understood the Tiger Tanks under-20 competition received the green light in June last year, after the Normalisation Committee of the TTFA which is led by businessman Robert Hadad, sent an official request to the sports' governing body - the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) and received it.
However, attempts yesterday to contact both Hadad and Amiel Mohammed, the acting General Secretary of the T&TFA for a comment on the approval via Whatsapp, proved futile as both did not respond to the question: 'which tournaments have been sanctioned or which tournaments will receive sanction for the reopening of football.'
Both Richard Ferguson, the La Horquetta owner and his manager Kieron Edwards admitted last year that approval was granted for the tournament in 2020, but Hadad allegedly indicated during a radio interview last year, that he was no longer willing to sanction the Ascension tournament.
Colin Wharfe, Chairman, Competition Steering Committee Tiger Tanks Under-20 Men's Football Tournament said the normalisation committee will confirm in writing to all desirous of staging competitions soon.
According to Wharfe: "Things are fluid at the moment, the primary thing is that now that the regulations are in place, the operational and implementational reality of those need to be put in place and applications need to be submitted.
It's a whole bunch of operations that need to be executed upon and either somewhere between the start and the end of that process.
It is my understanding that the NC will provide written confirmation of their approval to engage in the qualifying sporting activity.
So there are a number of individuals who have either already started organising competitions, and there are people who are also interesting in starting competitions What they will have to do is go through the protocols to get approval from the NC, especially if you want it to be held under the auspices of the TTFA."
Quizzed further on whether the Tiger Tanks tourney will be held under the auspices of the TTFA, Wharfe said: "Until we get confirmation that it is going to be held, and we do not have confirmation from the NC to proceed to hold competitive matches. Because as I said, the process to do so is predicated on the operationalization of the healthcare return-to-play protocols promulgated by the minister and they need to know what those are in substance and operationally."
Wharfe noted also that he will not be able to offer an answer if the tournament will not be held under the auspices of the TTFA.
SOURCE: T&T Guardian