With a new president to be installed at the helm of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) on Saturday, Selby Browne, president of the Veteran Footballers Foundation believes it represents an opportunity to reset football in the twin island republic and the wider Caribbean.

The new administration to be led by either Kieron Edwards of ‘Team Progressive’ or Colin Wharfe of ‘Team Transformation’ unit, will mark first self-governed TTFA in more than four years. This as William Wallace's administration was removed months after he was elected in November 2019, as FIFA intervened and installed its Normalisation Committee in March 2020, citing financial concerns.

That Normalisation Committee remained in charge until late last month when it made way for the TTFA to elect a new administration. For Browne, who withdrew from the presidential race, football is the catalyst for re-engineering the national socio-structure and delivering economic benefits by creating jobs in sport throughout all communities, with the establishment of a sport industry, both in T&T and the wider Caribbean.

He recalled that Trinidad and Tobago is one of four Caribbean countries to have participated in the FIFA World Cup Finals competition, the other three being Cuba in 1938, Haiti in 1974, and Jamaica in 1998. T&T participated in 2006 and it is Browne's hope that they will make the next global showpiece in 2026.

"It is my view this election is two years later than the ideal time required to successfully prepare for the largest football competition, the FIFA World Cup 2026, to be hosted in the CONCACAF for the first time since 1994. The TTFA election will determine the Executive to restructure and develop football in Trinidad and Tobago, while urgently redoubling much required initiatives to ensure qualification for the 2026 World Cup," Browne said in an opinion piece recently published in the T&T Express.

"Restructuring by a new TTFA is needed in order to develop the best possible product on the football field, creating wider participation, training and development, from grassroots upwards. Highly competitive community leagues, strong well-structured and supported community league teams competing within the zonal level are also necessary so as to provide attractive inter-zonal competitions, all providing the base for the establishment of a privately-owned Trinidad and Tobago national professional league at the top of the football pyramid," he added.

That said, Browne pointed out two critical recommendations for the new TTFA executive, the first being the appointment of an independent Constitution Committee to review the Articles forwarded by the TTFA Constitution Committee, while the other involves hosting a member and stakeholder consultation to review and contribute to the further development of the strategic plan.

"For those of us committed to the development of football in Trinidad and Tobago, we fully understand the need to secure the unequivocal support of the unified TTFA membership to achieve the desired goal. For while the goal is quite easily outlined, there is no short cut, quick fix, or magic wand. Only dedicated can address the large task to be undertaken, which will demand all hands-on-deck in the new TTFA," Browne stated.

A new-look Trinidad and Tobago football Association (TTFA) administration is on the horizon, as a collective decision was taken to support FIFA’s recommendation to host the Elective Congress on Saturday April 13, 2024.

It was revealed in a TTFA releases which stated that the decision will be facilitated by a short extension of the Normalisation Committee’s mandate and will result in the following timeline, which is viewed as respectful to all parties concerned, as well as to ensure that the process is fair, complete, and final.

As such, the TTFA Normalisation Committee will issue the notice for the Extraordinary Congress on or before Tuesday February 13, after which, candidates for any of the Executive Committee positions must be submitted to the General Secretariat by Wednesday February 28.

From there, the General Secretariat must circulate an official list of candidates to all TTFA members by Wednesday April 3, with the Extraordinary Congress for the Election of the Executive Committee to be convened 10 days later on April 13.

This follows last Sunday’s Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) of the TTFA at which 33 of the 47 members present, unanimously agreed to accept the amendments of the constitution, and also invoked the right of the FIFA-appointed Normalisation Committee being led by businessman Robert Hadad, to call fresh elections and conclude their mandate to manage the local sporting discipline as handed down by FIFA, in March 2020.

Meanwhile, at least three persons are eagerly awaiting the election now that approval of the constitution is completed.

However, the members are concerned by one of the new amendments that would only allow people contesting the election to be part of a slate. Also, members can only vote for a slate and not for an office position as was in the past. The slate with the most votes will manage the sport for a four-year term.

It was one of many proposed amendments to the constitution that, though objected to, was still included by Concacaf and FIFA. 

Still, the majority of the members voted in favour of considering a promise that changes to the constitution could be made within only a few months of having a new administration.

Another major change of concern to the members was the increased number of votes— (two votes each)—given to T&T Premier League (TTPFL) clubs - Tier I (12 clubs) and Tier II (six clubs) which makes it 36 from a total of 57 votes.

Hadad, who led the normalisation committee, achieved most of its mandate, including clearing a massive debt and ensuring that football was operational. But he now has to make way for a new TTFA president.

It is reported that Selby Browne, the president of the Veterans Football Foundation of T&T, Keiron Edwards, president of the Eastern Football Association, and Dennis Latiff, the new Southern Football Association president, have all expressed an interest in taking the reins.

But before any candidate can be considered, each has to meet the criteria of another constitutional change. A nominee must be involved in the sport for the past eight years if he or she wants to contest the election to serve on the executive.

They also have to meet the criteria of holding a managerial position for two of the last four years to be eligible for election. 

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