Hadad: ‘Covid hampered our plans… but our commitment is not diminished’

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“[…] Like every other organisation, the work of the normalisation committee was hampered by Covid, and we were unable to implement much of what we had planned. 

“These setbacks have not diminished our commitment and our resolve to get football back onto a sound and sustainable footing that would enable future administrations to focus on the development of the game…”

The following is a Christmas Day message from Fifa-appointed normalisation committee chairman Robert Hadad, who is the current leader of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA):

Photo: Fifa-appointed normalisation committee chairman Robert Hadad.

What a year 2021 has been! To describe it as a challenging year may be an understatement as we’ve had more than our share of disruption and difficulty—and, in too many instances, personal loss and pain.

These are unprecedented times; the Covid-19 pandemic has affected all of us in one way or another and football has been no different. Like the rest of the local sporting fraternity, all our leagues and competitions have had to be put on hold, delaying the progress we had all hoped to achieve. Globally, sport continues to face challenges as new strains of the virus emerge.

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On the bright side, scientists have come together to develop vaccines to help protect us from the worst of the virus. While many have mixed views on the efficacy of the vaccines, it is the only defence we have against this deadly disease. I encourage everyone that hasn’t been vaccinated to speak with their doctor about the importance of so doing.

This year, sport has delivered many bright and inspiring moments and has been a welcome salve to troubling times. Both our Men and Women’s National Teams have been putting in the hard work in the face of very trying conditions, and we are beginning to see the fruits of their efforts.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago players react to the final whistle after holding defending champions Mexico to a goalless draw at the 2021 Gold Cup on 10 July 2021.
(via TTFA Media)

Our athletes are always reminded that pain is temporary and that they must push past it to achieve glory. Their resilience and determination are lessons we must embrace to help keep us hopeful and positive.

While the past year has been a frustrating one, we must put it behind us and focus on making tomorrow a better day. Let us persevere, do the right things and together we will make 2022 a better year.

Like every other organisation, the work of the normalisation committee was hampered by Covid, and we were unable to implement much of what we had planned. These setbacks have not diminished our commitment and our resolve to get football back onto a sound and sustainable footing that would enable future administrations to focus on the development of the game.

Finally, as we get together with our families and friends during this holiday period, I implore you to do so safely and responsibly, and let us spare a thought and prayer for the ones who have gone before us.

Photo: Normalisation committee chairman Robert Hadad (background) talks to players before a Men’s National Senior Team training session at the Hasely Crawford Stadium on 20 November 2020.
(via TTFA Media)

On behalf of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association and the wider football fraternity, I extend sincere season’s greetings to all our fellow countrymen and look forward with determination to us all working together to make 2022 a better year.

Editor’s Note: Fifa president Gianni Infantino, through the Bureau of the Fifa Council, has extended the mandate of the Robert Hadad-led normalisation committee from two to three years, after acknowledging the local committee’s inability to meet its targets.

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