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Dr Gloudon: Fifa, I can’t breathe; Infantino take your knee off my neck!

“[…] What I want to say to [Fifa president Gianni Infantino] is that you represent the worst of what sport has become.

“A mighty conglomerate which is focused on making money; wielding power; and imposing your superiority and power on the athletes and fans who have now become mere pawns and no longer the central players in sport…”

The following Letter to the Editor on Fifa’s decision to suspend the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) from the international game was submitted to Wired868 by Reverend Dr Iva Gloudon—a citizen of Trinidad and Tobago and former international athlete, sport administrator, university director of sport and former ambassador to Jamaica:

Photo: Fifa president Gianni Infantino.
(via Fifa)

I have been in sport all of my life; from elementary school to high school to club sport, to university, as a national field hockey team member, a director of sport at the university level, an academic in sport, as the president of Women’s Football and as the president of Women’s Field Hockey in Trinidad and Tobago. 

Mr Gianni Infantino, sport has been my life and much of what I have achieved has been through sport. These days, however, I am mostly focused on being a ‘woman of the cloth’ and became a Reverend in 2012. I say this as I am praying that I can be reverential in what I am about to say to the mighty Fifa.

HOW DARE YOU!

I am not even going to attempt to justify who is right and who is wrong, as I do not believe that is the issue. I am not going to even attempt to address the issue of corruption, as this would only lead me to conclude that not many have surpassed Fifa in this regard.

What I want to say to you is that you represent the worst of what sport has become. A mighty conglomerate which is focused on making money; wielding power; and imposing your superiority and power on the athletes and fans who have now become mere pawns and no longer the central players in sport.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago football captain Dwight Yorke (bottom) salutes the Soca Warriors fans at the 2006 Germany World Cup.
(Copyright AFP 2014/Patrik Stollarz)

Do you even understand the pride that a country of 1.3 million people takes in their sporting accomplishments? Do you understand the pride we have when we are able to conquer the larger countries in the world to win gold, silver and bronze medals at the Olympics or make it to the finals of the World Cup?

Do you even understand how many of us only have the pathway of sport to lift us up out of poverty and hardship?

You are trying to convince me that the only management solution that you are competent at is throwing our duly elected football executives aside, defying our local courts and sitting around your table with six other men (yes, no women) in the hallowed hallways of Fifa and throwing an entire country, yes country, under the proverbial bus?

YOUR HIGHHANDEDNESS IS MESMERIZING!

We might be a small nation, but we are a very proud people. What about all of the other paradigms that exist which allows for a less confrontational solution? One in which all parties are taken into consideration and all parties can benefit.

Photo: Fifa president Gianni Infantino struts at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva during an exhibition match on 10 April 2017.
(Courtesy Sean Morrison/Wired868)

Good leaders do not wield power just because they have power. Good leaders do not demand that their subjects bow to their every whim and fancy. 

Good leaders do not demand that we go to a court that we cannot afford and which is certainly prejudiced towards us smaller nations.

So, the mighty Fifa is bigger than prime ministers, presidents, ministers of sport, athletes and, I daresay, God? Your laws, articles and clauses can be executed and applied in all situations without regard for human beings and the diversity of peoples? 

Shame on you Mr Infantino!

I CANNOT BREATHE!

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9 comments

  1. I hear you but it does sound like we are begging.
    Both football and cricket has taken a dive in Trinidad exception is T20.
    What has not changed is corruption.
    Leaders have changed but corruption remains.
    We just can’t run our business without hands in the till.
    Even in our higher levels of government.
    But it is the same elsewhere. Yes?

    Life goes on.

    I draw your attention to Marvel comics movies. Highly successful
    But by the time the villains are caught the destruction and loss of life is humongous.
    Society has been headed in that direction like a tsunami. Unstoppable.
    Until Covid.
    Can you talk to our people?
    Fix home first and deserve to be reckoned with.
    Sounds like we a begging the Principal for a faulty child.

  2. Dear Dr Gloudon with all due respect, I disagree with your analogy of the present situation between TTFA and FIFA. To even compare it with BLM and the death of George Floyd, in my humble opinion diminishes the struggle and discrimination of what millions of Africans and in particular Afro Americans. This fight was never about Trinidad and Tobago as a sovereign nation but of a few individuals who in their quest for personal grandeur took this country down a path of unnecessary confrontation. I may not be a legal expert but being a member of any organization one must be aware of the rules and regulations and as such and until such is changed one is bound by said regulations.

    • Agreed. We want to play with the Big Bad Boys (FIFA) and take their money and play in their tournaments but we don’t want to abide by their Big Bad Rules. Take it or leave it. Or they will kick (no pun intended) you out!
      After enjoying all that FIFA offered, even taking all the glory that came with making it to the Finals in 2006, we now want to say that their rules are offensive to small countries.
      We need to stop playing victim.

  3. Earl Best

    Doctor, May I react to the two paragraphs that precede that one.

    You’re off the mark with your “good leaders.” Save that for your letter to William Wallace.

    For Infantino, please use a different adjective to go with “ leaders” which Mark Bassant’s documentary has indirectly provided.

  4. Steups. We must be wrong a d strong and then cry discrimination? I can’t breathe either – because I’m laughing so hard at Wallace who thinks he can get the people’s money and play on their tournaments. No sir. That’s not how it’s work. No more T&T vs the world. Time for Laventille vs Beetham. Tacarigua vs Cunupia. El Soccorro vs Scarborough.

  5. I know nothing about Sport Administration, so I welcome Rev. Dr. Gloudon’s article. What I do know is that in local sport associations disciplinary action follows a complaint and a Disciplinary Hearing at which the accused individual or club has a chance to speak. FIFA, it seems has no such process and clubs and associations are to accept the denial of Natural Justice by the Council, even when FIFA itself may be partly responsible for the condition, or pay to challenge its decisions, as FIFA will not pay its part of the appeal costs in advance, in the Court specified by FIFA.

    I am amazed that the members of FIFA have accepted this autocratic, “divine right” of the FIFA Council.

    • FIFA is “autocratic” and has a “divine right” because its members like how that money flow! And the members’ local administrations do not want accountability because that would mean that their own corruption would be exposed. They all keep each other’s secrets.

      • I agree!! They were well aware of the rules they were playing by. So all this dramatization of “I can’t breathe” etc is just that, drama. Prior to that everyone was prepared to do the bidding of FIFA and had no question about their methods and practices. It is time we call a spade a spade. World football and its administrator is nothing more than a RICO organization i.e. a mafia style operation. If you cross them, you have hell to pay….it is that simple.

  6. May I answer the last parageaph “So the mighty Fifa is bigger than …. “. Yes.