'Goliath has staked his claim' - Former T&T international Hislop lashes out over FIFA TTFA takeover

By Sports Desk March 20, 2020
Former T&T goalkeeper and pundit Shaka Hislop. Former T&T goalkeeper and pundit Shaka Hislop.

Retired Trinidad and Tobago international and sports pundit Shaka Hislop has lashed out at the recent FIFA takeover of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA), insisting the move is tantamount to betrayal by world football’s governing body.

Last week, FIFA announced the decision to appoint a normalization committee to handle the affairs of the country’s football after a recent ‘fact-finding’ mission that it claims turned up instances of “low financial management methods” and “massive debt.”

With the TTFA changing leadership just four months ago, Hislop questioned the timing of the decision.

“TTFA’s financial woes have been very public and mushrooming over the last four years. The accounts have been frozen multiple times under the previous administration. Surely all at Concacaf and FIFA were aware of this, even as they continued to funnel money into the Home of Football project,” Hislop said in the expose.

“A legitimate question would be why wasn’t similar action taken by FIFA at that time when the circumstances of the organisation appeared to be most dire? Are we really expected to accept, and believe the explanation that this is about a financial management plan?”

Wallace had defeated incumbent David John Williams, whose Home of Football project had been widely supported by FIFA, at the last election.  Hislop proclaimed the recent move looked like more than a coincidence.

“It’s an easy existence to manufacture if you have the right people in place. FIFA clearly believed they did.

As many in the previous administration cheer this action in an effort to appease and gain their own favour, it should be clear to all, our football was never their primary concern. Their actions since November make that painfully clear,” he added.

“Within days of losing the last election, it’s concerning, at best, that one unsuccessful vice-presidential nominee and former board member issued public pronouncements that FIFA would be installing a normalisation committee.

With FIFA and Concacaf still determined to hold the reins on our regional influence, those relationships are protected and enforced—transparency is to be avoided at all costs.”

The former goalkeeper, who admitted to being hopeful following the appointment of the new Wallace-administration, believes the legal battle to come will not be the end of the issue.

 “Idiocy and power are an awful mix, but can only flourish with our complacency. The upcoming legal tussling is only just beginning, with people either already taking sides or cleverly positioning themselves right in the middle.

Goliath has staked his claim. We’ve all heard this parable before, we’ve lived through one incarnation of it not so long ago.

Should Goliath win this one, our game will not be so forgiving or forgetting of the locals who enabled and cheered this on. I’ll keep trying to find the hope in our game.”

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