Our Readers' Opinions
October 1, 2004
Sardine: why I withdrew

EDITOR: Having listened to certain insinuations and innuendoes made by the President of the St Vincent and the Grenadines Football Federation (SVGFF), who prefaces his muck-raking with “I don’t want to get into that”, and at the urging of certain of my friends and well-wishers, I now set out my reasons for resigning from the Federation. {{more}}

My first major difficulty stemmed from the signing of a supply contract with a firm in Brazil called Finta. During my visit there I was able to see their operation at first hand and I was not impressed. We had an offer from Nike that was at the very least just as attractive and I felt we should go that route. The President ignored my recommendations for reasons I am still to fathom, and arrangements were made with Finta without, up until the time of my resignation, any consultation with the main body of the Executive.

Then came the dismissal of the coaches. The reasons given for that are flimsy to say the least, but it is the timing of it that I find inauspicious. It was done in the midst of our World Cup campaign, which in itself raised serious questions in my mind, but even more disappointing to me, it was done at a crucial point in the development of our Youth Programme. We had just completed the first phase of our Under-20 and Under-17 programmes, culminating in the Under-20 World Championship in Curacao and the Under-17 in Cuba, where our teams had competed honourably. We had also just completed the selection of the under-13 team. All this was now thrown into disarray.

What I find peculiar is the presence here of the replacement coach on the night of September 10, 2004, a day before the first coach departed and five (5) days before the meeting at which the decision to dismiss was taken.

Both Mr. Leacock and Maxim James implied, on air, that I had authorised the payment of travel tickets for Messrs. Podd and Shaw. While I did have the authority to do so, I wish to say here that I made no such authorisation. I had nothing to do with the issuance of tickets for the two gentlemen.

Finally, I have worked too long and too hard for football in this country to be belittled by someone like Maxim James. I was elected to my post with an overwhelming majority. Mr. James competed for every post except that of President and was defeated in all. Now he is given more authority than any elected member. Service to football in SVG is voluntary, and I have availed myself of the right to withdraw my services.

Ian Sardine