I am writing to you regarding recent statements made by FIFA Vice President, Jack Warner, in the TT Press.
Mr. Warner has slammed the local corporate body for not adequately supporting our country's national football program. I found his comments to be a bit curious. For the past six months Trinidadians living abroad have been trying to get Warner's and the TTFF's attention in terms of giving them financial assistance - only to be ignored.
In February of this year the Trinidad & Tobago Football Supporters' Club (TTFSC) was formulated by myself in Toronto. The idea was quickly embraced by Trinidadians living in the USA , Trinidad and the United Kingdom. Collectively we believed we could raise a conservative amount of thirty thousand dollars US, annually. The idea was that Trinidadians living around the world would work together in their respective cities, as well as co-ordinate with club members in other countries to assist the TTFF in fund raising, and other logistics. Considering the Trinidad populous in cities such as New York, Washington, Miami, Toronto, London, e.t.c., we believed this to be a huge source that was being untapped by the local football body.
Not only could we raise money for the Federation, we could assist them: with logistics when traveling, offer Marketing and tactical advice and assist local footballers in securing contracts with clubs in our respective cities. The Supporters' Club is a diversified group. The members have backgrounds in Marketing, Football, Business and Public Relations. It was never the intention to tell them how to do their job, rather to offer added scope to our national football program. Our advice/suggestions would have been used at their discretion.
I personally sent communications to the TTFF/CFU/FCOTT, only to be ignored. In terms of the TTFF, I faxed, telephoned and emailed Oliver Camps. Am I supposed to believe none of these communications were received? Club Executive, Ian Henry living in London, England, emailed the TTFF. The Secretary thanked him for his interest. That was approximately six weeks ago. In total four months of fund raising have been lost. Four months that cannot be regained.
How can an organization crying for financial assistance, be so sloppy in their communication with the public. It is a Public Relations and Marketing blunder. Sadly, many Trinis living abroad have the perception that the TTFF is nothing but a collection of inept individuals, propped and supported by Jack Warner. This opinion may be wrong, but when the Federation cannot even communicate in a responsible manner, they are feeding these rumors.
Six months ago, another Executive member, Celestine Smith, who lives in New York, approached the TTFF. Mr. Smith, the marketing specialist for the1989 Strike Squad, made a proposal: offering to personally promote monthly international for T&T in the USA. His computer/sports marketing firm would personally foot the costs, and pay the players. He was told that FCOTT would respond to him. They never did. Yet six months later, Warner and FCOTT have this "brilliant idea," of promoting Trinidad internationals in the USA, promoted by FCOTT. We can only hope that this is being done because it is of greater benefit to T&T football, and not because Warner and his son, Daryan have their finger in their pie. When Mr. Warner complains to the Press about the lack of corporate assistance, does he bother to mention Mr. Smith, and his generous proposal?
The Supporters' Club has been very patient during the last few months, hoping that the TTFF would get up to speed. However, we have come to the conclusion that these individuals are apparently accountable to no one but themselves. Like any organization, they must be held accountable for their actions. They are accountable to the people of Trinidad & Tobago. The good that they do, must not be an excuse for the gross rubbish that usually takes place.
Recently, David Nakhid asked for the resignation of Oliver Camps. The Supporters' Club is whole heartedly behind Mr. Nakhid, whose reputation precedes him, as an individual who stands behind his convictions, no matter what the cost.
The Supporters' Club will continue doing what ever we can for the betterment of T&T football, even if it means working with the present administration. We are not here for our egos. The big picture is our nation's football. However, we are no longer willing to stand by and watch the sport be desecrated by the country's administrators. At the beginning of this decade Trinidad was set to be one of the giants of CONCACAF football. At the end of the decade, we are the laughing stock of CONCACAF. The USA, Canada, and all the Central American countries are ahead of us. Jamaica has caught up, and surpassed us, and have an international program that must make our own footballers weep with envy. Winning 20 Caribbean Cups does not qualify one for the World Cup!!
I reiterate, the TTFF, very much like our Government, must be kept on their toes and be accountable for their actions.
Jack Warner was recently quoted in the press as saying to the TTFF's critics: "Let them write, let them destroy, let them break down, let them be critical, let them damage the black people sport, it's okay but the show will go on." The black people sport?? It is our hope that Mr. Warner was misquoted. More than 50 percent of Trinidad's population is not of African descent. They play, love and follow football. Are we to understand that this is not their sport as well? If these were truly Mr. Warner's words, he owes the people of Trinidad & Tobago an apology.
We believe that there are truly hard working, well meaning administrators in the TTFF, who have become mired down in the muck that exists. We ask them to assist us in aspiring to a better T&T football.
We welcom Trinidadians at home, to join their countrymen on the Trinidad & Tobago Football On Line (TTFOL). A web page dedicated to T&T football, hosted by Marc Purcell, a University of Toronto student. The URL is: welcome.to\ttfootball, or you can use a search engine, look for Trinidad & Tobago Football, when you find it, hit the option Free Kicks Discussion.
In conclusion, we the members of the TTFSC, will continue to sacrifice our time and money in this venture. There is nothing in it for us. No free tickets, no free trips. We do this for the love of our country. We do this, so that the next generation of T&T footballers will not have to ply their sport in frustration, and suffer the anguish of World Cups that could have been.
Mr. Veersen Bhoolai,
Trinidad & Tobago
Football Supporters' Club (Toronto)