T&T football has faced another embarrassing set-back after it was revealed following a reconvened T&T Football Association (TTFA) board meeting that the three clubs, which qualified for the 2019 Concacaf Caribbean Club Championship, have been barred by Concacaf from participating in this year’s event over a supposed failure by the association to meet the confederation’s club licensing requirements.
W Connection, North East Stars FC and Police FC all qualified for the championship by virtue of their standing at the end of the last TT Pro League season.
Board member Keith Look Loy issued a report of Wednesday’s reconvened board meeting, telling stakeholders, “Concacaf has advised TTFA that it has failed to properly implement the confederation’s club licensing regulations and programme.”
He said the TTFA’s club licensing manager (Michelle Lynch) has since been dismissed with a replacement pending, and that a club licensing department will be created.
On Concacaf’s website the club licensing programme is said to focus on five specific functional areas of a club, namely its infrastructure, sporting, personnel and administration, legal and finance.
Concacaf president Jeffrey Webb describes it as “an ambitious project that will surely deliver benefits to all teams in the region and will elevate the standards in all the basic functional areas of a club operation and profitability,” while the confederation’s general secretary Enrique Sanz is quoted as saying, “this new project has been greatly received by all our member associations... We trust, amongst other positive aspects, that the new system will play a crucial role in raising the level of the Concacaf Champions League.”
The creation of a club licensing system is mandated by FIFA with the goal of advancing clubs at all levels.
The website also noted: “The Concacaf Club Licensing system is considered to be a long-term activity and the objective is to have it fully implemented for the 2015-2016 CONCACAF Champions League. Ultimately, Club Licensing will play a key role in supporting the development of football within the region and is anticipated to raise the level of professionalism in clubs, while improving their efficiency.
“We recognise that the implementation of this system will take time, but we have FIFA’s full support during this process,” Sanz said on the website.
Meanwhile, Look Loy described the development as “a disgrace for our football and our country as a whole,” while calling for the resignation of the administration.
“Since 2017 there have been repeated complaints about TTFA’s club licensing regime and they were ignored by the John-Williams administration. This is yet more evidence of this administration’s failure,” Look Loy said, adding, “Now, dozens of our players will be denied an international experience and the opportunity to place themselves in the international shop window. This entire administration should resign.”
Newsday attempted to reach Concacaf yesterday for more information but was unsuccessful.