Sat, Jul

Newly elected TTSL President, Clayton Morris

Former national defender and captain Clayton Morris is the new president of the T&T Super League (TTSL).

At a historic virtual election yesterday, he got the better of Jameson Rigues 8-0 with one abstention, for the right to replace former president Keith Look Loy until August 2021 when elections will be held again to signal the end of Look Loy's term.

Upon winning, Morris said it was a really good feeling, comparing it to when he was given the captaincy of the national team.

"I played football for all these years, captained Rangers for all these years from all the different levels, from Under-13, all the way up to U-19, but when I got the captaincy of the national team it was a whole different feeling. So this brought me back to that feeling," Morris, who captained T&T's now infamous 'Strike Squad', said yesterday afternoon.

Rigues, who had held the position of interim president at the time, and did not attend yesterday's election because he considered it to have been illegally called, was on the beach when the results were tabulated. He told Guardian Media Sports, Morris might as well warm up the seat for him when a legitimate election is held among the full membership, next year.

Before the election could take place among nine clubs - Club Sando, Bethel United, Queen's Park Cricket Club (QPCC), San Fernando Giants, Matura Re-United, Prisons, RSSR, and the University of T&T (UTT), seven teams voted in support of a recommendation to have the virtual election at the annual general meeting (AGM) for the first time.

Constitutional expert Osmond Downer was on hand to guide the day's legal proceedings as controversy brewed over the decision to have the election minus the secret-ballot process. And Downer did make his presence felt as he was called upon to declare that Saturday's Emergency General Meeting (EGM) held by Rigues, was considered illegal.

Downer, the man who played a pivotal role in drafting the T&T Football Association (TTFA) constitution which is aligned to that of FIFA's, had also explained that four of the seven suspended clubs- Tobago Phoenix, Youth Stars, Central 500 and WASA FC - could not be re-instated by the TTSL since their suspension for non-compliance was handed down by the parent TTFA, meaning the TTSL could do nothing about it.

The other three clubs, however, Harlem Strikers, Defence Force, and Marabella Family Crisis Centre were ordered to remain on suspension for the next six months and take the opportunity to put things in order for their re-entry into football next year.

Eddison Dean, the League's second vice president said the membership also decided that if the three clubs (Defence Force, Harlem Strikers, and Marabella FCC) are not ready to be re-instated after the six-month grace period, then they will be suspended indefinitely until they are ready.

Morris told Guardian Media Sports soon after, that his election to the top post in the Super League, doesn't mean that football will be well served but it will begin the wheel of change.

"I can't say football will be well served, but what I would like to see because everything takes time, is a little drop in the bucket and eventually we will get there.

"Given the chance to be at this level, at the administration level where it will have an impact on this level, with respect to, being on the TTFA board, it is something we lacked for many years, getting somebody who really came through the trenches, who understands what it is to be out on the field, who understands the emotions that players feel, the sacrifices that they make. So given that opportunity now, I can share that with the other people with all the other expertise, to bring a balance."    

The new TTSL football boss said since football clubs are some of the richest organisations in the world, he will seek to ensure that they are structured properly, they are compliant and licensed, and they are properly well organised to bring them in line with international football clubs at that level, noting that while it may seem impossible now, once structured properly, you can go to corporate T&T to get financial assistance.

Yesterday, a few clubs stayed away from the election as a show of support for Rigues against what they considered to be a breach of the constitution to have the election virtually. Some of them include Guaya United, a two-time winner of the TTSL, Petit Valley Diego Martin United and Cunupia FC, among others.

Rigues said the result means that there are people who are hell-bent on breaking the constitution for their gain, saying he will lose now but will win in the end.

"As for me and my team, we could accept losing to win, because the greater picture will be in August 2021. I don't know how a meeting could make a decision today with a minority of clubs and not the majority."

The former Guaya United manager also took offence to the decision of the suspended clubs, saying the TTFA has itself struggled with its own compliance issues and some clubs were waiting on the TTFA to find out about the status of their compliance.



New TTSL president wants T&T to rise in football rankings.
By Jelani Beckles (T&T Newsday).

CLAYTON Morris is the new TT Super League (TTSL) president.

Morris, the former Strike Squad captain, was voted in as the new president after the TTSL Annual General Meeting (AGM) was held virtually, on Sunday.

Former TTSL president Keith Look Loy resigned in October and since then Jameson Rigues has held the position as interim president.

TTSL board member Colin Murray confirmed the results. Murray told Newsday there was enough to have a quorum as nine of the 14 Super League clubs attended the AGM.

Of the nine clubs that attended eight voted for Morris and one chose not to vote.

“That is enough for a quorum. We had Mr Osmond Downer there as the constitutional advisor…everything was above board, we had Boris Punch who was the electoral commissioner,” Murray said.

Morris does not see the result on Sunday as a victory for him, but an opportunity to continue contributing to T&T football.

“It’s a nice feeling to know that I am in a position in administration where I could help make my input for the betterment of football in T&T…it is not so much about a victory, but it is good to be in a position where I could at least make a contribution.”

Morris added, “Going back I contributed as a youth Under-19 player then I went on to the senior team and then captain and now I also coach both football and futsal.”

Morris is determined to see T&T football rise in the football rankings as the national men’s senior team is now ranked outside of the top 100.

“We are at 104 or 105 now which is heart-rending to see where we were to see where we are. There is need for proper development with respect to the talent coming forward, so I want to focus on at least helping the youth coaches or the coaches who are responsible to make sure that they have the proper training so that they can execute the proper training to the young talent coming (up).”

The new TTSL president wants to ensure that clubs have the structure in place to operate at a high level. “(I also want) to assist the clubs, help the clubs develop their structure…some of the clubs still struggling so that is an area I will like to assist.”

Morris said proper systems in place will lead to sponsors coming on board to support clubs.

The former national captain said once the players in T&T are developed they will be in high demand which will generate income for both clubs and players. “The players are the assets of the club. You see how much money it costs when a club player is transferred because of the talent? Then the other aspect is the club. Once you are structured you could go to seek sponsorship.”

Morris also wants to use football as an avenue to encourage young people to refrain from a life of crime.

On Saturday, Rigues attempted to have a special meeting to delay the AGM. That meeting was not approved by the board.

Morris said he will not become distracted. “I want to focus on the football…we as the people who came through the sport know how important it is to stay focused…all those other things are distractions.”