“[…] I agree that in any fight one must be strategic in deciding where, when and how to fight. However, to accept perceived injustice without a whimper is tantamount to being a willing or unwilling accomplice to an unjust enterprise.
“Understanding the power relationships and what you can and cannot do, should not mean that we must accept contemptuous treatment…”
In the following Letter to the Editor, former St Augustine Secondary principal Andre Moses comments on the Fifa-TTFA impasse:
In the first instance, any challenge to Fifa comes with its attendant consequences. There may be benefit but there are also costs.
Judging from the polling of the views of stakeholders at the TTFA’s recent virtual meeting, and based on anecdotal evidence on online platforms, it is clear to me that a majority of football stakeholders view a Fifa ban as ‘a bridge too far’—because of its implications for professional livelihoods and also the legitimate aspirations and expectations of the clubs and players, who stand to be impacted most directly and severely by a ban.
Since I have no direct ‘skin in the game’, I will leave the issues of cost and benefit to football’s primary stakeholders.
Laws change over time to accommodate scenarios that were not envisaged or catered for when they were enacted, or because they are inherently unjust, or because they are unfairly applied. The mechanism to change law is two-fold: for legislators to make changes on the front end, or for litigants to use the courts to make their challenges.
Power relationships, in my opinion, should not be the determining factor in how justice is dispensed. Something is either just or unjust—not because of who has the power to do what, but because it is fair to both prince and pauper.
I agree that in any fight one must be strategic in deciding where, when and how to fight. However, to accept perceived injustice without a whimper is tantamount to being a willing or unwilling accomplice to an unjust enterprise.
Understanding the power relationships and what you can and cannot do, should not mean that we must accept contemptuous treatment. Those who today administer summary global football justice have a lot of ‘cocoa in the sun’.
The previous Fifa administration collapsed under the strain of their corrupt practices and even the current administration is sweating profusely under the gaze of global demands and advocacy for increased transparency and fairness.
To use an overused cliché: ‘We can chew gum and walk at the same time’. We can make ‘sensible’ and democratic decisions about our football and our footballers, while at the same time showing that we respect ourselves and will demand that others treat us with respect as well.
No one should meekly accept conviction without a crime, and it is in that context I used the analogy: ‘Shut up and dribble’.
I would love Trinidad and Tobago to be represented in the Concacaf Gold Cup and I would also love the world footballing community to respect Trinidad and Tobago as a proud, sovereign nation, which also happens to be one of Fifa’s 211 member associations. We would like nothing more or less, than to be treated with the same degree of equality and fairness.
How else will the footballing nations of Africa and the Caribbean realise their fair share in Fifa’s global enterprise?
Everything in life is not a zero-sum game. It is not always a case of either one or the other and camping out in opposing tents with our ‘hearing-aids’ disconnected.
At the end of the day, Fifa will do their thing; but Trinidad and Tobago football, its promise and its future, will be our primary responsibility.
Let everyone do their bit to build that promise and that future, because the ‘arithmetic’ of development is about addition and multiplication—not division and subtraction.