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Statement from Central F.C.

As seems to be the regular scenario in T&T football, certain sections of the football establishment choose to ignore important issues raised, to service their own agendas. The recent press release made by Central F.C. was addressing the perceived lack of support by Sport Minister Daryll Smith for professional football in this country. While it […]

As seems to be the regular scenario in T&T football, certain sections of the football establishment choose to ignore important issues raised, to service their own agendas.

The recent press release made by Central F.C. was addressing the perceived lack of support by Sport Minister Daryll Smith for professional football in this country. While it was based on the opinions of Central F.C. players and staff, the facts were undeniable.

Central F.C. created football history twice  during the last season. They won a succesive Caribbean Club Championship with a totally local team, while winning a second succesive TT  Pro League. The club then went on to win a third succesive TT Pro League in 2017.

This is important to national pride and to promote sport tourism in Trinidad & Tobago. To consistantly win the Caribbean Club Champonship proves, without doubt, that the TT Pro League is the top league out of 35 Caribbean countries – surely something our Sport Minister should be proud of, and also should be thanked for, as it validates the support provided by SPORTT company and the Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs.

This is truly a team effort made possible by all 10 Pro League clubs, Pro League administrators and the TT government. Yet instead of all parties coming together to celebrate our joint victories, we have a deafening silence.

On 18th May 2016, FIFA President, Gianni Infantino wrote to TTFA President David John-Williams and said”

Central FC are the Champions of Trinidad and Tobago, lt gives me great pleasure to send my

heartfelt congratulations to Central FC and their indomitable team on this great achievement.

This title is the result of the determination of everyone involved and my congratulations go to the

players, the coach, the entire technical and medical staff, and the fans.

On behalf of the entire football community, I would Iike to thank Central FC and your Association

for helping to spread the positive message of football”

 

At the CONCACAF Champions League draw in Miami, both CONCACAF President, Victor Montagliani and Deputy General Secretary Ted Howard, both publicly and personally, extended congratulations to Central F.C. on winning succesive Caribbean Club Championships and the positive contribution of Trinidad & Tobago club football to the CONCACAF region.

 

Of course, everyone at Central F.C. is proud to have received these international acknowledgements. But what does it say about our Minister of Sport that he could not find the time to ask one of his media employees to issue a similar release?

 

This is not any kind of attack on the PNM government. In fact, we are convinced that Dr Rowley, had he been made aware by Minister Smith of our achievements and the significance to our country, which has been battered and bruised over the last 12 months by recession and crime, would himself have promoted the clubs success. For we’ve had little to cheer about  internationally in the 2016 sport calendar.

 

It was very disappointing to note that TTFA, rather than acknowledge our complaint about lack of recognition, and perhaps attempt to close the chasm between Minister Smith and professional football, chose to attempt to manipulate one of Central F.C.’s players and discredit Central F.C.

 

After all, David John Williams forwarded the letter from the FIFA President to Central F.C. and was fully aware of it’s contents. Mr Williams was also at the CONCACAF Champions League draw and would have witnessed the plaudits given to Central F.C. and, no doubt, also basked in the reflected glory of victory by a club under his organisation. So having been aware that the statements made in the Central F.C. press release were accurate, why did he not, as overseer of T&T football, support Central’s concerns?

 

Not only would he have authorised the TTFA media release by Jan-Michael Williams which sought to undermine Central F.C.’s position, but he then allowed one of his junior coaches to issue a statement on TTFA website describing Jan-Michael as “a kid”.

 

As a previous outstanding footballer who would have achieved many public accolades, it is shameful that Russell Latapy would wish to deny the same to the Caribbeans top goalkeeper. While Mr Latapy was fortunate enough to ply his trade internationally, Jan-Michael, aside from two spells overseas, has

 

consistently won the top titles available to him at national and regional level, as well as supporting many local community projects. And did so on much lower salaries than Mr Latapy. Jan-Michael has literally given blood in his 70 plus appearances for the national team. His comments were not directed towards TTFA and there should be no reason why David John Williams would allow his organisation to intercede in this issue, other than to support the club that regularly provides players for his national teams. Surely the most prudent response would have been for Mr Latapy to pick up the phone and have a quiet word with Jan-Michael?

 

How are we supposed to encourage and inspire young men to turn away from crime and throw their energies into football if the Minster of Sport, the TTFA President and one of our greatest former players refuse to promote the sport by recognising excellence and achievement?

 

What is more important in their roles than demonstrating the positives of sport?

 

Is there any reason why any citizen should not speak out about lack of performance by a government Minister?

Are government Ministers beyond criticism in the Trinidad & Tobago of 2017?

 

And by interceding themselves into an issue that was not directly of their concern, now David John Williams, the TTFA board and Russell Latapy’s motives should be of concern. As we have stated, they cannot deny the facts. They cannot deny freedom of speech. There was no area for them to comment on, other than to support Central F.C.’s fears that the Minister of Sport does not value professional football. So why get involved?

After all, TTOC did not rush to attack Richard Thompson when he critised the Minister of Sport.

 

Those are the questions that should be asked, along with questions to the Minister such as “Why did you not acknowledge Central F.C.’s achievements” and “Why have you not responded to their criticisms?” And perhaps, to David-John Williams “Why did you feel the need to intercede in this issue?”

Unless, of course, TTFA responded on the Ministers behalf?

 

 

 

 

If we are to continue striving to improve our professional league, which in turn strengthens the national teams, we cannot sit back quietly while the league only receives negative press. The clubs need to be recognised in order to encourage corporate sponsorship, match attendance and

participation from youths. The more non financial support provided by government, the less financial support will be required. The Minister of Sport has actively supported CPL cricket, amateur football

and numerous football coaching schools. So why not our professional league that provides employment for over 200 people, the majority of whom are Trinidadian?

 

Central F.C. have made a massive contribution to T&T football in its 5 year history, both on the field and off, with numerous imaginative community projects. Those facts cannot be denied. Yet, it appears, there are those that wish to do so to suit their own personal agendas, to the detriment of the beautiful game.

 

Source: Central F.C. Management

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