Dear editor: Tribute to T&T’s ‘singularly incisive’ football referee, Osmond Downer—may we see more like him

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“[…] May there be similarly sensible incarnations of Osmond Downers, as domestic football crawls to its uncertain future and Downer’s informed movement across the field of play inevitably wanes and welcomes generational substitution.

“[…] May that tradition be relayed by others who pick up his torch…”

In the following Letter to the Editor, Chambi Sey pays tribute to Trinidad and Tobago Football Referees Association (TTFRA) vice-president Osmond Downer—one of the framers of the TTFA’s constitution and an outspoken figure on football governance and procedure:

Photo: TTFRA vice-president Osmond Downer (right) makes a point to referees president Joseph Taylor.

Reflecting on the multiple pronouncements by Osmond Downer in the context of the FIFA-TTFA impasse, it must be stated that Downer has been a singularly incisive, necessary, thoughtful and towering presence in the room of publicly shared perspectives.

His voice has been distinctive, although not entirely appreciated or understood by those whose exclusive focus has been on drilling directly to the perceived nitty gritty, at the expense of procedure which the manual states would be in accordance with propriety.

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Thus, Downer has reminded us that the constitutions of national sport organisations (NSOs) hold living expectations rather than convenient references for self-interested conduct, or contrived emergencies, or contrived emergency committees.

Also, he reminds us that properly framed NSO procedural references lead to the diminished likelihood of Olympian potholes of gymnastic proportions or golfing holes with Panamanian dimensions and acrobatic flourishes.

But, aside from Osmond Downer’s assertions of how things ought properly be considered or done, he has brought meat to the feast of opinions concerning football governance—while others merely arrived carrying water for notional regime change in one hand and, in the other, a menu of Swiss desserts presumed to be available upon its occurrence.

Photo: Fifa president Gianni Infantino (left) presents Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley with a personalised football jersey during the opening of the TTFA Home of Football in Couva on 18 November 2019.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/TTFA Media)

Reading an account of Downer’s contributions at the TTFA’s ‘last supper’ of an informal meeting, on the eve of the deadline imposed by Fifa to marshal federation conformity, prompted these reflections. However, they easily could have been delivered preceding that reading.

May there be similarly sensible incarnations of Osmond Downers, as domestic football crawls to its uncertain future and Downer’s informed movement across the field of play inevitably wanes and welcomes generational substitution.

From the vantage point of goalposts at either end of the field, he has provided concrete added value to both the cheap seats and the VIP section, while also functioning as a conscientising agent of Trinidad and Tobago football’s silent stakeholders and dispassionate observers.

May that tradition be relayed by others who pick up his torch. There is a sense that there would have been less balance and less oxygen in the room but for the ‘good trouble’ of Downer’s injections—from November 2015 to the present.

Photo: Just over 20,000 Trinidad and Tobago supporters came out to watch the Women Soca Warriors face Ecuador in Port of Spain on 2 December 2014.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

Without a doubt, the Downer approach also offers glimmers of modelled contribution for those on the floor of the nation’s Senate.

Credible platforms ought not be diluted by aiding the distractions.

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One comment

  1. Osmond Downer is a disciplinarian, patriotic, independent, honest and faithful individual. He ia truth teller who maybe among the few who are out and about talking loudly and espousing a lot of sweet nothings that is genuinely interested in the betterment of T&T football. Without that much needed truthfulness and committment from those individuals who present themselves for office the local game will be forever in this never ending downward spiral/freefall.

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