Escaping the fire !
It is often said that when your neighbour’s house is on fire, you need to wet yours.
This may be a proverb, but it is also a truism that is applicable to sports and its administration, here in St Vincent and the Grenadines, the region and the wider world.
So as we here in St Vincent and the Grenadines watched, listened and read intently of the travails of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) and its run-ins with football’s governing body – FIFA and the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS), the worst fears were realised last week when it was announced that FIFA had banned Trinidad and Tobago indefinitely.
Indeed, for some, granted the intricacies of the TTFA’s predicament; an indefinite ban was always a foregone verdict.
Trinidad and Tobago’s circumstances are froth with complexities, but what is common is that irrespective to what one wants to think of FIFA’s high-handedness in the matter, there is sufficient narrative, that the administrators in the twin-island republic failed in its governance practices.
We are located just a few hundred nautical miles away, so we too have to take notice, read the signs, learn vicariously, and not only douse our house with the proverbial water, but also erect structures that would guard ourselves against similar pitfalls and ultimately, destruction.
It was however instructive that among the revelations in the T & T saga, implicated one of the accused men in the TTFA melee was once being courted by a former president of the St Vincent and the Grenadines Football Federation (SVGFF) to perform work here on a proposed football project.
As fate would have it, that project never came to fruition, and fortunately, that head honcho at that time suffered the indignity of being banned.
But, several national sporting organisations here, have been playing with fire, but none have been burnt, except for a few scorches here and there.
Save and except the banning of a handful of football officials by FIFA’s ethics and disciplinary committee, St Vincent and the Grenadines’ sporting administrators have gone unscathed, despite some sporadic accusations which have surfaced.
Unfortunately, it is mainly football administrators here whose operations have mainly come in for scrutiny, and who get the second look of attention.
So, it stands to reason that football has to take the moral high road always and ensure that its administrative framework is above board and water tight.
But as we harvest the water to start wetting our house, certain other elements of control must be put in place to insulate the possibilities of having to be brought over the coals by the judicial bodies in world football.
The current executive of the SVGFF has to begin to plot an administrative course that should keeep them on the straight and narrow, and not become ethers in the furnace of corruption.
Critical in this framework is that of human capacity development of our football administrators.
There must be a move to up the technical and administrative efficacy of those who are employed or give of their time voluntarily, in lieu of the much anticipated stipend.
It is evident that this anticipated proficiency has been short in realisation, with no serious effort being made to better those defeciencies in the administrative arm.
The SVGFF has to begin as well to put in place some strategic marketing structures, whilst developing and eventually optimising its brand. Preceding anything though, a brand must be first and foremost developed.
This is against the backdrop that over the years reliance has been the suckling on FIFA’s draw downs.
Good as it was FIFA’s intent over the past 20 years, has left states like St Vincent and the Grenadines devoid of creativity ideas to earn more and better the state of play of our football.
Instead we have resigned with contentment to sit in comfort of FIFA’s “poor relief”, or want for a more dignified term, FIFA’s assistance.
Placing the correct core governance modalities in place can, and certainly will avoid us with a TTFA experience.
The future of our football is in the hands of the administrators whose guiding principles of operations, must be in unison with success.