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For the love of football


Affiliates of the St Vincent and the Grenadines Football Federation are set to make another major decision next Thursday, as they are forced to elect a new president to head the organisation.
The forced election was occasioned by the two-year ban and US$40 000 fine placed on elected president – Venold Coombs by the adjudicatory chamber of the independent ethics committee of FIFA, having violated articles of FIFA’s Code of Ethics.

Coombs’ demise stemmed from profiteering on ticket sales ahead of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.

Whilst one may say that it is water under the bridge, Coombs’ indictment has dented football in St Vincent and the Grenadines.

The ban and fine, have not only been injurious to the sport itself, but to the integrity of St Vincent and the Grenadines, as a whole.

It cannot be said that what is past is past, and water under the bridge, when affiliates are faced with making such a critical choice.

Our football is at a crossroad and there is a need for a person, who would have the task of rebuilding football’s image and the trust of Vincentians and others.

That new person would have his work cut out, as what was passed off for leadership of the SVGFF for the past six and a half years, was the perfect non-example of the decorum expected from head of a national sporting body, or any organisation, for that matter.

But callous actions of someone who was allowed to believe that he was invincible, have left us in the mire, because successive executive members lacked that moral courage to stand up and be counted, as men.

Instead, football suffered, as their monthly stipend was premium, and fetched a higher price than their integrity.

Equally culpable were those affiliates whose compromising loyalty preceded the love for football.

So the ball is back in the affiliates’ court again.

The affiliates who voted back in November 2015 against a forensic audit, when it was clear that there were discrepancies, as stated by the SVGFF’s auditors, with regard to the sale of the World Cup tickets.

Therefore, the affiliates who are armed with the voting rights are to determine if they are going to stick with the old or plot a new pathway.

They have to discern if the old guards who may seek the top office, are a cut from the same cloth as the predecessor.

Affiliates too have to filter through the others who are likewise seeking such a high profile position, as football administration over time has become more than just being a president.

Similarly, if the new president comes from outside the current executive framework, would the sitting members fully support the elected leader?

Conversely, would that new president feel comfortable and have that needed thrust to work with others whose policies and style of operation would have been questioned in the past?

St Vincent and the Grenadines’ football is in dire need of a leader with the vision to do what is best for our young people.

Football needs a leader who has the sport at heart and not a selected few friends and family, who are labelled as affiliates.

Additionally, football needs a leader who would care for the interest of all affiliates, not only his cohorts who have supported him getting the post.

Irrespective of who is the favoured choice, all affiliates, though, should be supportive as much as possible, as football on all fronts should be the winner.

We have a country to build, and if football could provide some of the material and manpower, let it be part of the stones of that national development.