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Dear Editor: Govt and TTFA are hurting children with stalled football resumption

“[…] Are we blind to the fact that there is no vaccine for children under 12, yet, for some reason, they are being kept out of safe zones?

“[…] Could it also be that the national governing body, the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association, which is being run by a Fifa-appointed normalisation committee, has failed to properly plan for the re-opening of the sport?”

The following Letter to the Editor on the delayed resumption of domestic football in Trinidad and Tobago was submitted to Wired868 anonymously by ‘A Seriously Concerned Football Fan’:

Photo: Pro Series players (red shirts) console their Skhy FC opponents after their 5-4 penalty shoot-out win in the RBYL U-11 semifinals at the Larry Gomes Stadium on 29 June 2019.
(Copyright Allan V Crane/ CA-images/ All Sport)

In one week’s time, it will be exactly a month since the Ministry of Sports and Community Development re-opened sports in a ‘safe zone’ environment. We have heard not a single word about starting date for football, the largest spectator sport in the world, and I daresay Trinidad & Tobago. Not a single word. 

And why? Could it be that behind the new sporting public health regulations, there seemed to be little information about the ‘hows’ and ‘whys’ but lots about the ‘what ifs’—as in, what happens if someone breaks the rules?

KFC Munch Pack

And there are a lot of fines, from what I have been told and what I have read myself. Where are the published steps to understand how does one become safe zone certified? How does one get their safe zone protocols approved? 

Don’t get me wrong, deterrents are a key element to helping ensure we don’t get another Covid outbreak. But are we not also concerned that the rest of the world’s young and old have gone back out to play, with Covid safety protocols? 

Are we not concerned that the next Dwight Yorke or Russell Latapy is perhaps being kept away from overseas opportunities?

Photo: Trendsetter Hawks ‘A’ player Joshua Jackson (centre) brushes aside a QPCC opponent during RBYL U-11 action at the Queen’s Park Savannah on 25 May 2019.
(Copyright Allan V Crane/CA-Images/Wired868)

Are we blind to the fact that there is no vaccine for children under 12, yet, for some reason, they are being kept out of safe zones? Why not allow them a way back out to enjoy playtime with their friends in youth academies and teams? 

Invariably, vaccinated and unvaccinated have been allowed to get back out to schools. There are many positive reasons to allow them on the field, with the requisite safety protocols in place. 

So far, lockdowns have not proven to prevent outbreaks, and the data shows a healthier population is better able to fight off illness, including Covid. Additionally, our youngest have been mostly indoors, and most likely have to learn (and re-learn) socialising skills. 

On top of that, medical professionals have said that they will also be susceptible to obesity, and the serious health ailments that come with that issue as they get older.

Photo: (From left) Minister of Education Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly, Minister of Sport and Community Development Shamfa Cudjoe, and Minister of Energy Stuart Young put their heads together.
(Copyright Office of the Parliament 2021)

Could it also be that the national governing body, the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association, which is being run by a Fifa-appointed normalisation committee, has failed to properly plan for the re-opening of the sport? 

What meetings were held with footballing stakeholders during the lockdown of the sport? What plans came out of those meetings, assuming there were meetings?

Recently, we would have read or heard about various leagues being ready, and awaiting sanction. What has become of those leagues and the impending sanctions? Is it that the TTFA is ill-equipped to handle the mandates within the Public Health Regulations? 

Have they undertaken an internal assessment since the regulations were published, to ensure they have the requisite staffing or the personnel qualifications required?

So many questions and not enough answers.

Photo: Fifa-appointed normalisation committee chairman Robert Hadad (right) and TTFA acting general secretary Amiel Mohammed look on from the covered stands as Trinidad and Tobago and Nicaragua clash in a 2022 Concacaf W Championship qualifying fixture at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port-of-Spain on 17 February 2022.
(Copyright Daniel Prentice/ Wired868)

Who is going to man up and take responsibility?

Someone has to answer to the stakeholders, as we are two years behind the rest of the world.

And counting!

About Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor
Want to share your thoughts with Wired868? Email us at editor@wired868.com. Please keep your letter between 300 to 600 words and be sure to read it over first for typos and punctuation. We don't publish anonymously unless there is a good reason, such as an obvious threat of harassment or job loss.

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