THE TT Football Association (TTFA) may be able to field both men’s and women’s teams at this year’s Concacaf Olympic qualifying competitions, says TTFA board member Richard Quan Chan.
On June 2, the TTFA issued a media release entitled, “TTFA prioritise eight other competitions over Concacaf Men’s Under-23 Olympic Qualifiers for 2018,” which said the local governing body “has regrettably withdrawn its participation from this year’s qualifiers and has decided to focus its resources on other competitions for the rest of 2019.”
Among the competitions to which the TTFA pledged funding was the Concacaf Women’s Olympic Qualifiers.
The media release noted, “The financial difficulties of the FA has (sic) been no secret to the public. With the limited funding available, and 11 national teams to service, the TTFA (took) the decision that, in moving forward, we must not increase the debt of the FA and that we must prioritise which tournaments are a must to participate in.”
The TTFA also said then, “It would be unfair to the (country) to send an unprepared team to participate in the tournament.”
A day later, Sports Minister Shamfa Cudjoe said at a media conference that the TTFA,during a meeting on May 31, did not request any funding for the team because “they would have taken that decision that the team was not ready.”
Quan Chan, during a telephone interview yesterday, said, “I have received some information that somebody, I don’t know who (as) yet, but I (was) supposed to find that out (last) night, is willing to be a godfather.”
About the current status of the TT Olympic teams, Quan Chan said, “At this point, I cannot say yea or nay. I have a meeting pending. After that meeting, I’ll be in a better position to say what’s going to happen.”
On May 27, during a media conference at the Ato Boldon Stadium, in Couva, Quan Chan said the teams needed US$165,000 to compete in their respective qualifiers.
The men’s qualifiers will take place from July 17-21, with TT in Group B alongside Barbados, Cuba and the USVirgin Islands, while the women’s qualifiers are carded for October.
Quan Chan said yesterday, “I said (then) if we don’t have information by the second week of June, if we don’t raise funds or we have no means of getting funds, we’ll have to call it off. Concacaf is requesting that TT make a decision as to whether they’re going or not.”
Quan Chan, a member of the Southern Football Association (SFA), is part of a TTFA emergency committee, featuring president David John-Williams, vice-president Ewing Davis, Selby Browne (Veterans Football Federation of TT), Bandele Kamau (Eastern Football Association) and Anthony Moore (Tobago Football Association).
Asked who made the initial decision to cancel the men’s team’s participation in the Olympic qualifiers, Quan Chan replied, “We discussed it at board level, but the whole thing is that we had no money, so we had no big decision to make. It was (strictly) a financial position that we could not afford it.”
He added, “At this point, it is still in the balance. Scheduling is important to (Concacaf). We have not said anything at this point. We’re still hoping that something can happen.”
If the TTFA is unable to field any team for the Olympic qualifiers, how will that be dealt with by Concacaf?
Quan Chan answered, “I’m not sure what kind of sanction will apply. I’m not sure what will happen at this point.”