Sat, Dec


There is al­ways a cer­tain amount of is­sues when it comes to sport in the re­gion and some­times across the world.

For in­stance, some months ago, when the cur­rent Pres­i­dent of Fi­fa was of­fer­ing his opin­ions to make some sig­nif­i­cant and at­trac­tive de­ci­sions which are like­ly to var­i­ous dif­fer­ent ap­proach­es to foot­ball in cer­tain coun­tries, es­pe­cial­ly the ones with nu­mer­ous votes in FI­FA elec­tions.

I dis­tinct­ly re­call when the news came out like a breath of fresh air when the FI­FA pres­i­dent an­nounced that the num­ber of 48 coun­tries will be able to bat­tle for places in the world cup fi­nals in Qatar.

I was ab­solute­ly shocked over that de­ci­sion be­cause that ad­just­ment has been dis­cussed among the ex­perts of FI­FA com­mit­tees of the past. There was nev­er any sup­port for such a de­ci­sion. How­ev­er, it would ap­pear that Mr Infantino de­cid­ed to go that route and rushed to the less­er de­vel­oped coun­tries for sup­port. There was a lot of joy for the Pres­i­dent that the Caribbean will sup­port him ful­ly, of course with the re­gion get­ting an­oth­er space or two to en­ter the fi­nals.

Well, sud­den­ly, the FI­FA has re­cent­ly an­nounced that this pro­pos­al will not hold and the cus­tom­ary 36 teams tour­na­ment will re­main. The Caribbean may be dis­ap­point­ed see­ing that there is a cer­tain de­gree of close­ness among the Caribbean lead­ers and the FI­FA pres­i­dent. He will have to try an­oth­er project in which to hold the votes for the No­vem­ber elec­tion.

How­ev­er, near­er to home, the mys­tery of our foot­ball com­plex­i­ties has sud­den­ly been en­thused over the fact that a com­mis­sion which was ap­point­ed by heav­en knows who, have just an­nounced that the T 1 and T2- leagues will start in the months of Au­gust or Sep­tem­ber.

I am at a loss to find out those who have cho­sen a com­mis­sion con­sist­ing five per­sons to make some new plans for the game in T&T, by get­ting a fi­nan­cial­ly strong own­er who will be an­nounc­ing the prize monies on­ly the two leagues just men­tioned.

My un­der­stand­ing is that the choice of per­son­nel was made by mem­bers of the board, many of which had failed mis­er­ably to or­gan­ise their pre­vi­ous com­pe­ti­tions, and lit­er­al­ly showed that they had to ap­proach the gov­ern­ment to as­sist with their salaries pay­ment.

In the first place, I have not seen or heard that the TTFA had de­cid­ed to change the struc­ture of our foot­ball with­out re­turn­ing to the con­sti­tu­tion and call some lev­el of ref­er­en­dum to in­vite the clubs in the North, East, cen­tral, To­ba­go and South whose play­ers clien­tele con­sist of more clubs that T1 and T2 leagues col­lec­tive­ly.

Then a few ques­tions? Has this been a de­ci­sion of the TTFA? When was it done and why have the zon­al di­vi­sions not been en­ti­tled to par­tic­i­pate in the process? Sec­ond­ly, for an­oth­er time, I am ask­ing a ques­tion as to how the teams that have been se­lect­ed earned the right to be cho­sen as the top clubs in the coun­try for the two Tiers rec­om­mend­ed?

Is it be­cause they can af­ford to pay the hefty reg­is­tra­tion Fee.?

Be­cause they have cer­tain­ly not shown to our foot­ball lov­ing so­ci­ety that their qual­i­ty of play is any­thing that is worth­while.

Maybe, they have for­got­ten that many of these teams have been tardy with re­gards their fi­nan­cial com­mit­ment to their play­ers from time to time, and had to rush to the min­istry of Sport for a hand­out. Maybe, the gov­ern­ment does not re­alise that these team own­ers are en­tre­pre­neurs and fran­chise hold­ers, whose fund­ing was in­vest­ed with the in­ten­tion to make a prof­it through gate re­ceipts and prize monies.

The his­to­ry to that sit­u­a­tion is well known and the num­ber of times we have heard of teams not be­ing able to re­ceive their prize mon­ey, or even some of those who qual­i­fied for the CON­CA­CAF cham­pi­ons league, strug­gled to even at­tend the away fix­tures.

Just in case those in­vestors don't know, they are de­stroy­ing the op­por­tu­ni­ties of vil­lagers in var­i­ous com­mu­ni­ties who may well pos­sess the true nat­ur­al tal­ent of the game. His­to­ry has shown that fact.

Large crowds have al­so shown that the gate re­ceipts of match­es played in the com­mu­ni­ties over the years have had thou­sands of peo­ple who will pay and trav­el to towns and vil­lages to sup­port their teams. The peo­ple of this coun­try still moan the ab­sence of qual­i­ty foot­ball which they have seen over the past forty years. What they are view­ing ap­par­ent­ly does not war­rant the cost of the en­trance tick­ets. In­ci­den­tal­ly, what are the con­di­tions which will fi­nan­cial­ly qual­i­fy to play in these “mys­tery” leagues?

I am hear­ing about FI­FA and UE­FA in­ter­fer­ence or maybe some will call it as­sis­tance. I have my doubts since FI­FA has al­ways preached that Na­tion­al as­so­ci­a­tions must han­dle their ad­min­is­tra­tive af­fairs com­pe­tent­ly, not by all the quag­mire of cross-talk among the ex­ec­u­tives as they use the me­dia to ex­press their views.

Then, what will the zon­al sys­tem gain from the new look ex­er­cise and who will the man­age­ment? On the looks of it, The TTFA seem to ig­nore the Zones, sim­i­lar to what they prac­tised in re­cent times.

How­ev­er, if the zones al­low that type of ne­glect by the rul­ing body, then there will con­tin­ue to be the huge de­te­ri­o­ra­tion of Foot­ball in our coun­try. God Bless us all.