Dear Editor: Now TTFA’s members know who they climbed in bed with, after accepting “normalisation”

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“[…] It is sadly laughable that those who now demand democratic elections on 18 March have never demanded that Fifa or its Normalisation Committee respect TTFA democracy.

“[…] They never engaged the broad membership in any discussion regarding a way forward for Trini football. Their ‘governance model’ doesn’t allow for democracy. Its all about funnelling decisions downwards to ‘the sans culottes, the plebs’…”

The following Letter to the Editor on the current tension between the Fifa-appointed Normalisation Committee and the TTFA Membership was submitted to Wired868 by former TTFA board member Keith Look Loy:

Fifa president Gianni Infantino (left) and secretary general Fatma Samoura.

When The Mighty Sparrow sang “No money, no love” he surely wasn’t thinking about a “John” threatening to remove his amorous attentions from his intended lover if she didn’t take his money—a case of “take meh money but yuh cyah leave me”. But the world is an unflichingly mercenary place.

Trinidad and Tobago specialises in transactional relations, and Trini football is today, as ever, a particularly cold-eyed and demanding paramour.

KFC Munch Pack

Yes, the Fifa occupation of TTFA continues and the Association’s naive membership simply won’t understand that the affair they pursued so amorously with the global body is a tale of unrequited love.

Fifa has continuously used the promised carrot (money) and the threatened stick (suspension, expulsion, now dissolution) to keep TTFA and its members in line.

Fifa-appointed normalisation committee chairman Robert Hadad.

Writing in Inside World Football on 5 December—prior to the Extraordinary General Meeting of members on 10 December, which called for the election of a new TTFA executive on 18 March 2023—dodgy Paul Nicholson stated:

“If elections are held in March and the new president and his executive committee cannot find a solution to that debt then the TTFA would continue to be trading insolvently.

“Support and patience for the TTFA within Fifa and Concacaf is clearly running thin and there would be little chance of getting their backing. That would mean the potential bankruptcy of the TTFA and it ceasing to exist.”

Remember that was published five days before the TTFA EGM!

As the visit of Fifa president Gianni Infantino failed to rally the membership behind former TTFA president David John-Williams when challenged by United TTFA in the 2019 elections, so this threat of TTFA collapse failed to persuade members to reject their own motion for elections next year.

Fifa president Gianni Infantino (right) and then TTFA president David John-Williams at a press conference at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva on 10 April 2017.
(Courtesy Sean Morrison/ Wired868)

In my last Letter to the Editor, I posed the question of how the membership would respond to Fifa’s rejection of their motion. Well, that time is upon them, because “the financier” issued a statement (via the TTFA trustee) regarding the delay of payment to creditors—which, bluntly translated, says “no Normalisation Committee, NO MONEY!” (or “no love, NO MONEY!”).

“The financier” (which Fifa and the Normalisation Committee refuse to identify in a continuing display of contempt for members, despite the fact that the members must carry the debt) has blatantly rejected another democratic election in Trini football—following their rejection of the election that brought William Wallace and United TTFA to power.

It is extorting agreement from TTFA members; and it is laying responsibility for any fall out, including creditor frustration, at their feet.

TTFA trustee and Ernst & Young partner Maria Daniel.

This is all wrapped up in the financial mumbo jumbo of the trustee’s statement regarding the financier’s refusal to pay the debt and without explicitly stating its denial of democratic process and a March 2023 election. And therein lies the rub.

It is sadly laughable that those who now demand democratic elections on 18 March have never demanded that Fifa or its Normalisation Committee respect TTFA democracy.

Indeed, in 2020 they assisted Zurich and its local minions in trampling football democracy in Trinidad and Tobago, with their demand that the legitimately elected United TTFA administration cease its High Court fight against Fifa’s illegitimate intervention and leave office.

They have ignored the impenetrable opaqueness and lack of transparency and accountability in Normalisation Committee operations for years. The last time out, I made the point that Fifa doesn’t like who and what it sees on the electoral horizon.

Terminix La Horquetta Rangers managing director and Ascension director Richard Ferguson was a defeated candidate in the 2019 TTFA presidential election.
(via Ascension)

Despite the genuflection by Kieron Edwards of the Eastern FA to Fifa president Gianni Infantino in the Trinidad Newsday, the new-born “democrats” in TTFA have amply demonstrated that they are unwilling to stand and fight Fifa’s arrogance and high-handed colonialism. And now they expect Zurich to respect them and honour their call for democratic elections?

Laughable. Democracy doesn’t like part-time lovers.

In the final analysis, the Normalisation Committee has accomplished nothing. It has two main directives from Fifa: solve the debt crisis and introduce a new TTFA Constitution. It has done neither.

Fifa-appointed normalisation committee chairman Robert Hadad (right) with Trinidad and Tobago Men’s National Senior Team and U-20 Team head coach Angus Eve in March 2022.
(Copyright Daniel Prentice/ Wired868)

It failed to generate an independent financial plan and source(s) of revenue with which to repay the debt. (Again, official circles say that “the financier” the TTFA is relying on to pay the debt is FIFA itself, with the debt to many creditors consolidated into a Fifa loan.)

It also failed to propose a new constitution or to initiate a broad discussion on constitutional reform among the membership.

Beyond that, they have never engaged the broad membership in any discussion regarding a way forward for Trini football. Their “governance model” doesn’t allow for democracy. Its all about funnelling decisions downwards to “the sans culottes, the plebs”.

National football coaches were initially denied access to the Ato Boldon Stadium on 25 August 2020 to deliver their appointment letters to normalisation committee chairman Robert Hadad.
(Copyright Ghansham Mohammed/GhanShyam Photography/Wired868)

Meantime, with indecent haste, the Normalisation Committee is rushing to start its “new elite league” in January 2023—the members of which, in December 2022, have not yet been announced, and which, I assure you, the public will ignore if it does begin in January.

It is also attempting to seduce youth football organisers into running their competitions through the office of the stagnant, incapable Association, so it could take credit and declare some “wins” when its second mandate ends in March 2023.

No doubt, the Normalisation Committee believes that would offer some justification for yet another extension of its mandate to at least March 2024, if not March 2025.

By that time, Robert Hadad and company would have held sway over Trini football for a full term of office, four years, or even more, without ever having been elected by anyone. Astonishing.

Fifa-appointed normalisation committee chairman Robert Hadad.
(Copyright Daniel Prentice/ Wired868)

So the rubber is now on the road. Have TTFA members thought through their motion and its consequences properly? Did they foresee and plan for Fifa’s inevitable rejection of their belated democratic musings and motion?

What are they prepared to do? Are they prepared to confront Fifa and rebel against its colonialism? Will they source alternate debt financing? Will they refuse to play in Fifa’s new “elite” league? Will they place their youth and regional competitions on ice?

Will they find a court to go to? Will they hold their own election? Will they start a new Association? Or will they lay down without a whimper and take the Fifa money and the Fifa-style loving too?

“Take meh money but yuh cyah leave meh.” Right?

Fifa president Gianni Infantino makes a toast.

After all, Fifa is their Sugar Daddy and pays well, yeah, so why resist the rape?

As I said last time out, the next few months will be interesting…

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