Coach Terry Fenwick

INSPIRING THE TROOPS: National senior football team coach Terry Fenwick, fourth from right, speaks to his players during a training session at the St James Barracks, on March 6. --Photo: ROBERT TAYLOR

There must be some sort of illness, or maybe even a curse, which afflicts many persons in positions of authority to the extent that they are so convinced of their presumed superiority that they are incapable of appreciating the folly of their own actions, or as in the case of the Normalisation Committee of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA), their inactions.

In going against the grain of protracted silence in relation to continuous complaints about the substance and style of their FIFA-imposed governance, made many times worse by a chronic failure to communicate with several key stakeholders in the local game, the Robert Hadad-led four-member committee issued a swift response on Saturday to a letter of complaint to the world governing body, a response which told everything about their one-eyed view of the world.

For the purposes of full disclosure, let me state immediately that my family’s electrical and plumbing supplies business, of which I am a director, has had a continuous relationship with Hadco Limited (of which Robert Hadad is a co-CEO) since the establishment of Hadco’s electrical and lighting division almost 30 years ago. Also, I have known the latest addition to the Normalisation Committee, Nicholas Gomez (it was only via the reporting of his appointment that I learnt that his birth certificate first name is “Trevor”), since secondary school days when he was an outstanding middle-order batsman at Fatima College and went on to captain the national under-19 team at the 1984 West Indies youth championships before playing his lone senior national first-class game against the touring Englishmen in 1986 at the Queen’s Park Oval.

So back to the issue at hand.

Limitations of space don’t permit extensive detail on the letter of complaint from TTFA members to FIFA, nor are they really necessary for the purposes of discerning the obvious failings of the governance style of Hadad together with other committee members Nigel Romano, Judy Daniel and latest addition Gomez.

Whether it is Hadad personally or the collective quartet, they essentially stand accused of what can be interpreted as high-handedness as reflected in that previously mentioned failure to communicate. And in their swift response, the Normalisation Committee made clear why they are so despised by so many in local football.

In the second line of their response they state: “We understand the concerns of the TTFA Members and will be addressing those issues with the membership directly this week.”

If we ignore the eight months of legal wrangling with the eventually-deposed William Wallace administration, why has it taken five months from the actual implementation of the committee’s FIFA mandate in November of last year to acknowledge the necessity of speaking directly to the membership of the organisation they now govern?

But it is the third paragraph of the letter which confirms the aforementioned illness, or curse, if you prefer:

“It must be noted that many details outlined in the document (the complaint sent to FIFA) are inaccurate and based on assumptions. We will endeavour to improve on the communication channels between the TTFA and its membership so that the members are provided with accurate sources of information on these matters, with the aim of fostering a stronger relationship between all parties.”

This is so typical of what passes for accountability around here: hurling blame back on the complainant(s) for maybe getting things wrong in the specifics of their accusations, sidestepping the obvious issue of the communications vacuum which allows suspicions to fester, and then vow to do something (improve communication channels) which should have been done from the very outset.

And finally, to confirm that we remain in the colonial era, is the lament about washing dirty football socks in public:

“It is however unfortunate that this letter, which was sent internally, has found its way into the media space. Trust between the TTFA and its membership is paramount to develop this strong relationship and we believe that by working together earnestly, it can be achieved.”

So who has broken the bond of trust, the complainants who used the media to prompt a swift response when previously there was only silence, or the new governors who inferred by their continuous failure to communicate with key stakeholders that they were answerable only to FIFA?

Look, this is certainly not an attempt to cast clear villains and victims because the evidence of several decades of innumerable iterations of local football bacchanal makes clear that many of those who consider themselves “football people” are invariably the architects of this continually deplorable state of administrative affairs.

Still, in this specific instance, and as confirmed by their uncharacteristic knee-jerk response, this four-member team operates, like so many others at all leadership levels in this country, by decree.

What else can we expect but business as usual from a “Normalization Committee”?


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