The Normandie Hotel in St Ann’s was the site for an impromptu rendition of “Hello, Goodbye” from Colin Murray today as the Carib Brewery events and marketing manager officially announced himself as a Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (TTFF) presidential nominee and then immediately pulled out of the race for “personal reasons.”
As a result, Guardian Life insurance executive Raymond Tim Kee, a former TTFF vice-president, will run unopposed for the post of president. The election is scheduled for Sunday 11 November 2012.
Tim Kee formally revealed his bid for presidency on 25 October 2012. The TTFF constitution allows no more than three candidates for an election as each nominee must be supported by two zones and Trinidad and Tobago has six regional bodies
Tim Kee was proposed by Eastern Counties and Central while Murray was backed by North and South. Interim president Lennox Watson conceded on nomination day, which was on 26 October 2012.
But Murray’s challenge lasted barely seven days.
“I took a decision that I will no longer be running for the presidency,” said Murray, at his press conference today. “It is for personal reasons. Congrats to Raymond and I hope he does a good job.”
The former Trinidad and Tobago cricketer refused to give reasons for his pull-out and pleaded with the media to respect his need for privacy. He did hint, though, that the political nature of the race did not sit well with him.
Tim Kee claimed to have the support of Sport Minister Anil Roberts. Rumours linked Tim Kee’s candidacy to National Security Minister and ex-FIFA vice president Jack Warner too but the president-in-waiting strongly denied those suggestions.
Murray urged Tim Kee to “be his own man.”
“I am very hopeful that he doesn’t play politics with the football,” said Murray. “He must stand up like a man and fight for what is right in football… He has two years and, who knows, if he does stupidness, I might be back.”
Almost immediately, football stakeholders wondered if there had been a fix and whether Murray entered the race simply to block off another potential challenger. Murray is also close to the Sport Minister who he once coached at Fatima College.
However, Murray scoffed at any suggestion that his campaign was insincere and said he only decided to quit this morning. Over the past week, he claimed to have canvassed five of the six zones as well as several affiliate bodies.
“(Tim Kee) would have been in for a real fight,” he said. “Trust me on that.”
Murray called Tim Kee immediately after the press conference to inform him of his decision.
The TTFF president-in-waiting told Wired868 that he was stunned by Murray’s decision and credited his adversary for statesmanlike behaviour.
“My reaction is I wish the constitution was written in a way that it could have two presidents,” he said. “… Colin and I are friends and it doesn’t sit well to know you are competing against a friend. He is a decent man and I told him I will be calling on him for his usual support.”
Watson, the incumbent president, declined comment on the election although he vowed to have more to say at his own press conference next week.
“I don’t want to comment on anything about the election,” Watson told Wired868. “But I will have a press conference next week and, rest assured, I will have a lot to say about many different issues.”
Ultimately, Tim Kee believes his experience in football and as an insurance executive outweighs the potential contribution of a manager.
“It is matter of knowing how a job is doing as opposed to why and what,” he said. “An executive is responsible for everything whereas a manager implements. I understand Colin is an excellent marketing manager but I don’t know how he would have operated as an executive.
“I do wish I could have him as a vice president. He would have been very close to me.”
Tim Kee is now entrusted with the responsibility of taking the TTFF past the fall-out of the 2006 World Cup bonus dispute, improving relations with fans and sponsors—including the Sport Ministry—and overseeing the restoration of the “Soca Warriors” as an international force within CONCACAF.
Editor’s Note: What are your thoughts on the short-lived TTFF presidential race? Let us know by leaving a comment.