“The real problem with the TTFA isn’t generally about the president of the TTFA. The problem is and has been the individuals representing the member associations.
“[…] History speaks for itself about what our presidents have done because our democratic membership allowed it to happen…”
The following letter to the editor on Fifa’s decision to implement a normalisation committee in Trinidad and Tobago was submitted by FC Santa Rosa official, Jason Laban:
It is said that sometimes the best thing to say is nothing. I generally try to follow that when it comes to matters of politics—however I feel like this is one of those times that something needs to be said.
The footballing and general public have been exposed to numerous articles as well as television coverage of this whole matter of the TTFA vs Fifa and the Fifa’s normalisation committee. What is being said is always about the fight or the stance taken by TTFA against Fifa and/or how it will affect our football in Trinidad and Tobago.
Let me start by saying this, either direction this matter goes Trinidad & Tobago football will suffer. The question is: do we suffer to become better; or do we suffer and continue to suffer?
The reality of the TTFA has always been about politics and self-interest rather than football. I am a stakeholder and I’ve been fortunate enough to be allowed entry at TTFA meetings for some time now. Due to that access, I’d like to share this perspective with the general public, as I have with my friends.
The real problem with the TTFA isn’t generally about the president of the TTFA. The problem is and has been the individuals representing the member associations.
I say that for a couple reasons: 1. The president usually comes from a member association and 2. The members have the ability to a stop a president if wrongdoing is taking place.
History speaks for itself about what our presidents have done because our democratic membership allowed it to happen.
And this is why Fifa and its normalisation committee cannot help our football. The facts are that Fifa stood by and allowed the TTFA’s debts to balloon, money to disappear, projects to be run without proper accountability and the deterioration of our national football teams—without stopping the guilty administrations, much less intervening in any way.
Apart from Fifa’s failure to show it cared about our football over the years, a normalisation committee does not have the power to change the culture of the TTFA or its membership. And until that is done, Trinidad and Tobago’s football will keep going around and around in the same cycle as before.
Members of the TTFA have shown how highly they regard self-interest, low accountability, corrupt practices, egotism and nepotism. And for those reasons, they have prioritised support of presidents who served their interests over what should be the most important thing of all: FOOTBALL.
I recently read an article where the acting TT Pro League chairman, speaking on the current TTFA administration’s court matter against FIFA, said: “This appears to be a moral stance for Wallace but certainly not for the country.”
This can only be expected from someone representing the Pro League—a league that consistently struggles financially, has no academies to develop young talent and is owned by private individuals who receive taxpayers money to pay their players!
Imagine if privately owned companies like Carib or KFC received funding from the Government of Trinidad and Tobago to pay its workers. How is that for morals?
(We can dig deeper into how much our talented youth players are paid versus the executives of these privately-owned clubs, but we’ll leave that one alone.)
There are TT Super League members who claim they are excluded from decisions, yet don’t attend meetings and don’t reply to emails
We have regional associations that are practically non-existent, with limited to no teams playing football and whose representatives come to TTFA meetings and say they are only there to vote and don’t want their time wasted with discussion because they ‘didn’t come for all of that’. We have members whose associations only exist on paper, yet are allowed to travel with TTFA contingents.
I give those examples to show what some of the TTFA membership looks like. Some of them don’t even know what a moral, principled stance towards country and football looks like.
If Fifa wins in courts or current TTFA administration submits, nothing changes with our football or the culture that controls our football. If you’re happy with the state of our football, then this would be your preference.
If the TTFA wins its legal battle and Fifa decides to ban us from international football, sad as that may be, it won’t last forever. And, during the period of our international ban, maybe we can focus our energies on development plans and improving our football for our eventual return to the international game.
The TTFA’s fight with Fifa is a moral stance for country. Do we suffer to become better, or do we suffer and continue to suffer?
I would prefer we suffer to become better. But then again, I’m in the TTFA for football and not politics, or self-interest, or egotism.