On Target
July 13, 2018
In your hands

Whatever came out of yesterday’s (Thursday, July 12) planned meeting with affiliates of the St Vincent and the Grenadines Football Federation (SVGFF) and remnants of the executive of the national football body, it must point to a way forward in rescuing and resuscitating the sport from its position of hopeless decay.

Unfortunately, that meeting was specifically convened to address the current state of the administration of football.

The meeting was called to fast-track a mandate position of affiliates, against the recent developments in which the SVGFF’s president Venold Coombs was handed a two-year ban and a US$40 000 fine, after being found guilty of bribery and corruption, conflicts of interest and loyalty of the FIFA Code of Ethics.

The well-publicised outcome, the result of two years of investigation, has body–checked St Vincent and the Grenadines’ football, and by extension, the entire country’s integrity and trust.

But it may have to take something as drastic as that for us to acknowledge that our football needs fixing.

And, this is not to say that there have not been bellowing calls for all concerned to pursue an administrative overhaul, which went unheralded.

Set aside, no one of the current executive, from a moral standpoint, should have the gall to remain with their respective portfolios.

They were the men who all along were denying that FIFA was investigating Coombs and the sale of World Cup tickets.

Therefore, to come when the boley has burst and guts exposed, points to a bunch of men whose characters are questionable.

More so, the surviving members of the executive are extracting themselves from any wrong doings, advancing the lame duck excuse that they had given Coombs carte blanche authority as it pertained to the sale of the tickets.

Fool ah talk, but nah fool ah listen, as there is empirical evidence to the contrary.

So the entire local football set-up, and by extension St Vincent and the Grenadines, have been mired by the actions of those who are charged with the responsibility to better St Vincent and the Grenadines’ football all-round.

Culpable too, are the many affiliates who in November 2015, voted against having a forensic audit done in lieu of the World Cup ticket sales of 2014, when concerns were raised and answers were not forthcoming.

Affiliates missed out on an opportunity to fix issues in-house, instead of the harsh call which FIFA’s ethics committee made.

These set of weak governance practices by affiliates add to the current executive’s poor administrative heft.

It is without any gainsaying, that the executive is one of the weakest ever assembled in the history of national football administration.

This was borne out with the refusal of Otashie Spring, the duly elected first vice- president, who gave way to second vice –president Marvin Fraser, to act as president in place of Coombs.

But in comes Fraser, who categorically stated that he had no part in the ticket sales.

He forgot that emails are lifelong evidence, which point to him being foreign to the truth.

Fraser must recall too that in the latter part of 2013, in his substantive position of treasurer, failed to account for $96 000 plus of the SVGFF’s funds.

His admission gave rise to the famous/ infamous statement “Take my Head”.

Apart, under Coombs’ last four-year tenure, our football has staggered to a depressing low, with our national teams being the “licks board” of most teams they engage.

Neither has there been any real development thrust for the nation’s football.

Competitions each and every Monday morning are not the end all for development.

With so much stacked against our football, hopefully, by the time this exposition is published that Messrs Fraser, Spring, Wayde Jackson, Othneil Douglas, Fitzgerald King, Yosiah Dascent, Dominique Stowe, Dwight Baptiste, Wayne Grant and Dwight Roberts, would have all done the honourable thing and walk away.

Or, that affiliates would have dashed away their blind loyalty and see the bigger picture, and would have pointed them to the exit door.

Surely, football needs to have some fresh breeze through the administrative department; persons who have the sport at heart and not for personal gains and the gains of their teams/clubs, as exhibited by the last set of elected administrators.

It must be underscored that you were elected by affiliates on Coombs’ ticket/slate, hence should take collective responsibility and blame with the actions of their leader.

Violating FIFA’s code of ethics, bribery and corruption, loyalty and conflict of interest, are not simple misdemeanours, but transgressions in the integrity of a person whom you supported to lead football.