On Target
October 26, 2007

Is it love for Football or personality?

The massive turn out, the interest and the participation of so many persons last Saturday at the Annual General Meeting of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Football Federation were phenomenal. The live broadcast of the entire proceedings, which lasted near to six hours, underscored this interest, especially as it involved the elections of a new executive, moreso a new President, to serve for the next four years.{{more}}

But the soaring interest, was it genuine love for Football or were there other ingredients in the mix?

The latter was borne out in a matter of hours following the elections, as the true colours of some were shown.

Reports of Bert Francois, who unreservedly expressed his support for former President St. Clair Leacock, relieving the assistant referees of his personal flags at Victoria Park, the day following the elections, exhibited the partisan approach into which Football has evolved.

We may also hear soon of some officials withdrawing their services from the current National Club Championships.

These sorts of developments further fuel the perceived division among key players who act as support staff of the sport.

Such is the divisive nature of Football and last Saturday’s meeting, and its outcome deepens the divide.

I was brought into the fray as I was accused of helping to mastermind the eventual demise of Leacock. That’s the extent we have reached when anyone expresses his or her opinion fearlessly.

In fact, I was also prevented from taking a photograph of Leacock soon after the results of the presidential race were made known.

The castigation and insults hurled at Ian Sardine and Leopold Dopwell at last Saturday’s meeting, when both men have been selfless in their service to Football, made them feel like less than men. The verbal onslaught meted out to the two put any sense of concern for human dignity to zero.

Delves has his work cut out as he tries to be a man to his word, promising better accountability, inclusion and transparency in the operations of the Federation.

He, more than anyone else, will be under the microscope, as his every move will be scrutinised.

Many will be awaiting his stutters, and will measure central government’s financial input and other support, as there was a perceived deliberate lack thereof under Leacock’s watch.

Delves has to learn the ins and outs and learn quickly, as he is a relative newcomer to this sort of leadership. A position that demands a lot of skill, as Football over the years has been mired in controversy.

Delves will have to redouble his efforts as the regional bodies with their close affinity with the former president will undoubtedly tighten the screws on our operations.

He should expect no favours. But this may be an opportune time for us to get away from the slip shod way of doing things.

We have been playing ‘baby house’ with Football over the years, and last Saturday exposed to all where we are with Football.

With teams/clubs being able to register a few days prior to the meeting to ensure that they could vote; the fact that the reports and nomination forms and other information did not meet the deadline as stipulated by the Constitution, showed the infancy stage of our Football development.

The world may be laughing at us as we boast of our maintenance of a sub-100 position on FIFA rankings, yet we are unable to conduct our affairs with some level of professionalism.

The detour sign has been posted, and the opportunity to take Football in another direction presents itself.

The support and interest shown over the past weeks do not actually translate into tangible benefits, as many were caught up in the euphoria of the elections.

Football surely will meet its pitfalls. It is my hope that many who were vociferous will come forward when the needs arise, and they will certainly arise.

But the loud voices of persons in the Sion Hill community, who are diametrically opposed to the erection of the mound on the Sion Hill Playing Field seem not to be heard by members of the Longest Organising Committee (LOC).