“[…] 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:
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.
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.
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.
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.