All eyes are on this country’s men’s and women’s team competing abroad in the Concacaf Gold Cup and Pan Am Games respectively, but perhaps the most significant achievement for football in this country has taken place off the field-of-play.
Yesterday, the Executive of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) under president Raymond Tim Kee accepted the recommendations of a Reform Commission and voted unanimously to the amendment of their constitution.
It is the culmination of 18 months work dome by the Commission which included Chairman Raoul John, TTOC head Brian Lewis, ex- WIPA president Dinanath Ramnarine, Senator Elton Prescott, Dr Sheila Rampersad, Shaka Hislop and Patrick Raymond.
Chief among the changes implemented is the setting of term limits for the president. A president will now be allowed just two four-year terms, effectively ending a past era which saw former boss Oliver Camps reign for 19 years.
The next president and vice-president of the TTFA will also enjoy a more comprehensive mandate from football stakeholders as clubs from the Pro League and Super Leagues will now each have a vote for elections.
The Executive Board has also been widened to include representation from the regional associations, Referees Association and Women’s Association. The Commission had also recommended the Players Association be included as well, but it was later decided that body should be functioning more efficiently before getting consideration.
Speaking exclusively with Newsday yesterday at the conclusion of the passing of the new constitution, Tim Kee beamed with pride at the historic venture.
“Everything that is worth pursuing must have a foundation. In any organisation, a constitution, which is more a roadmap to take you where you want to go, quite apart from doing that, tells you how the operation not only operates, but how it is set up to operate, and that has to do with its structure.
We want our constitution to enjoy a kind of pioneer status in this new direction so other sporting bodies can emulate,” he explained.
He revealed that FIFA’s governing body and head of Member Associations, Primo Corvaro, were all pleased with the new document.
“What excites me is the comment from the parent body, FIFA, who from 209 constitutions, has special mention of the work that this Commission did and went as far to say that they hope many countries would emulate what we have done and come up with something with the kind of integrity that this one has,” he noted.
The Port-of-Spain Mayor continued: “What we have done is shift the paradigm from Executive-centric to one that is broader. This one has the clubs and clubs now have a vote as to who would be president...We have also restricted the president’s chair to not more than two years (terms) consecutively. This wasn’t so before, a man could have been president for 100 years.”
Tim Kee revealed that the TTFA will be recruiting specialised personnel to assist in marketing and finance to better maximise the potential of the organisation.
“It’s no longer a case where I like you and I just give you a position. It’s not that way, that has changed,” he declared.
He also paid tribute to the Reform Commission which he believes did an immaculate job.
“The reason for bringing those individuals to frame the constitution, we needed to have a complement of people who nobody could question their character or integrity,” he stressed.
Meanwhile, Ramnarine, who also headed the Implementation Committee (Brian Lewis, Senator Prescott, attorney Mervin Campbell, Raoul John, Oswald Downer), thanked Tim Kee and his administration for allowing the Reform Commission free reign to conduct their duties independently and without any interference or pressure.
“ This is a very bold initiative and very rarely do you see the president of an organisation selecting the calibre of people and say ‘look, football needs your help, come and help us. We want you to put a structure that would take Trinidad and Tobago football forward’. Well done to president Tim Kee.
Today is an important day for Trinidad and Tobago football and the TTFA will now be a leader in sporting organisations when it comes to democracy,” he pointed out.