The Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) assured stakeholders today that an international friendly between the Soca Warriors and the United States Men’s National Senior Team will go ahead in Orlando on 31 January 2021, despite an executive order by new US president Joe Biden regarding travel into their country.
As part of new health measures to combat the spread of Covid-19, Biden yesterday ordered that ‘travellers seeking to enter the United States from a foreign country shall be required to produce proof of a recent negative Covid-19 test prior to entry, and [are] required to comply with other applicable CDC guidelines […] including recommended periods of self-quarantine or self-isolation after entry’.
The CDC recommends between seven to 14 days self-isolation after international travel and implores travellers: ‘even if you test negative, stay home for the full seven days’.
However, Biden’s missive mandated the secretary of homeland security to ‘assess the CDC order’ within 14 days of the executive order and ‘take any further appropriate regulatory action, to the extent feasible and consistent with CDC guidelines and applicable law’.
The US secretary of homeland security is asked to consider, among other things, ‘the feasibility of implementing alternative and sufficiently protective public health measures, such as testing, self-quarantine, and self-isolation on arrival’ (although this consideration is intended to apply to persons travelling from countries where Covid-19 tests are ‘inaccessible’).
Is there a 14-day ‘grace period’ before Biden’s executive order is implemented?
The TTFA, via a release from its media office, said the United States Soccer Federation (USSF) offered the assurance that the match will go ahead as planned.
“The US Soccer Federation, in consultation with relevant governmental agencies, has communicated that they do not have any concerns with the international friendly scheduled for 31st January 2021,” stated the TTFA, “and is looking forward to welcoming the Trinidad and Tobago Senior Men’s Team for Terry Fenwick’s international debut as head coach.
“The TTFA thanks the US Soccer Federation for their vigilance in these matters and are happy with the Covid-19 protocol that will be in effect for the game. The protocol was quite extensive even before the executive order was issued, with multiple rounds of testing and controls being implemented.”
The USSF’s ‘return to play protocols’ include:
• Adequate spacing between the field of play and ticket purchasers;
• A maximum of two parties (each comprised of four or fewer people) per row, thereby allowing each party to access the aisle closest to its seats without stepping over another party;
• At least six feet of space between every party and other parties;
• Ensuring that first two seats closest to the aisle are empty;
• Reserved seating only, with general admission not allowed;
• Mobile-only tickets;
• A limit of 4,500 fans at the venue.
Fans are also required to wear face coverings at all times while on stadium premises, except while actively eating or drinking.
At present, Fenwick has a 23-man squad in training but hopes to add to that core with the likes of United States-based stars, Kevin Molino and Joevin Jones, who are believed to be in the country but have not attended any sessions.
This morning, British football agent Mike Berry, who represents former Soca Warriors head coach Dennis Lawrence, slammed Fifa-appointed normalisation committee chairman Robert Hadad for the commitee’s failure to pay Lawrence’s match bonus for Trinidad and Tobago’s seismic 2-1 World Cup qualifying win over the US on 17 October 2019—even as payments were allegedly made to foreign creditors like Avec Sport and Stuart Charles-Fevrier.
Wired868 asked Hadad, via text message and WhatsApp:
Can you confirm whether the normalisation committee has facilitated any payment for Avec Sport and how much? And why was such a payment made before those due to nationals?
And can you [say] anything on how the normalisation committee is prioritising payments and managing local football money?
Hadad did not respond up to the time of publication.