Sat, Jul

Incumbent T&T Super League president Clayton Morris

Incumbent T&T Super League president Clayton Morris will not seek re-election when the Super League AGM and Election of Officers take place on September 19.

Morris, a former defender and captain for the now infamous 'Strike Squad' football team of 1989, said he wants to continue in his role as a coach as football has always been his profession and passion. Morris' intention to not contest the election means that Ryan Ottley, the Defence Force manager, who Guardian Media Sports was told on Monday will be seeking the leadership position of the Super League, could be the lone candidate, come September 19.

According to Morris: "As I have already stated I'm not interested in running for the T&TSL presidency, and as coach I will not be contesting if and when the election is called. I was always considering taking up the president's role. It was always a struggle for me mentally because having to carry out my duty as a coach at the University of T&T, for which football is my passion.

It is my profession, so it was always a challenge or a struggle in taking up the presidential position, but then when I was told to carry on for just eight months, I said I would give it a try. As a strong believer in the Almighty, I saw it where God wanted me to step into the position to bring that calm and tranquillity that we have now in the Super League."

Morris was elected in the midst of a tense environment on November 29 last year, in which an agreement had to be reached unanimously among the clubs, to use a virtual platform for elections, for the first time in the Super League's history due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

He won the position unopposed after his lone challenger Jameson Rigues, a vice president of the T&TSL, pulled out at the very last moment. At that election, only nine of the expected 24 members voted.

Ottley's Defence Force is one of seven clubs that were suspended by the Super League back in 2018 for either being non-compliant, or for non-payment of registration fees to play in the League under then President Keith Look Loy. Some clubs that did not pay registration fees that year (2018), also suffered a further suspension in 2019, for not playing in a TTSL tournament for two consecutive years.

Following the AGM that preceded the election last year, a decision was taken for the seven suspended clubs- Defence Force, Central 500 FC, Harlem Strikers FC, Marabella FCC, 1976 Phoenix, WASA FC and the Youth Stars to get their house in order with regards to becoming compliant within a six-month period before they can be given voting rights at the election.

Morris said only the Army Coast-Guard Combination team followed instructions and has become compliant. Tobago team 1976 Phoenix began the process to become compliant but did not complete it.

Morris said the teams were given sufficient time to become compliant. They were given until June this year to fix all documentation concerning becoming a voting member again, and if they have not done so then they will not vote.

Morris was satisfied with his performance despite the COVID-19 pandemic that threatened to make his tenure useless. He said his executive was able to achieve a lot administratively, saying: "Most of the meetings we had, they took the form of discussions, whereas, with arguments, you want to find out who's right. With discussions, you find out what is right, and that has trickled down to the membership.

That kind of fighting in the Super League is no more. For the AGM you would normally have an activity report at which you would have a breakdown of the games played etc, but this time around, we have activities which we were able to accomplish administratively from the Board level. I was able to meet with the members via telephone to bring back communication."

SOURCE: T&T Guardian