The Caribbean Football Union (CFU) is focused on developing the sport and its players and not politics, president Randy Harris has insisted amid questions about the regional body’s hands-off approach to the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association’s (TTFA) battle with FIFA.
The TTFA was in March replaced by a FIFA-appointed normalisation committee after football’s world governing body found evidence of financial mismanagement. That move has been challenged by the William Wallace-led executive that was elected in November 2019.
Speaking on i95FM Sports, Harris said the committee had not reached out to the CFU and “with what is going on, we wait until this situation is settled”.
“We’re seeing a lot of reports from Trinidad and these reports are more of a political nature. I have not seeing any reports about the players, what is happening with competition, where is Trinidad in terms of going forward with their international programmes. That is what I’m really interested in and for right now, I prefer to stay outside what is going on,” the Barbados Football Association (BFA) president said. “It’s a FIFA matter, it is a Trinidad matter, and we are waiting to see what will be the ultimate outcome.”
“The Caribbean Football Union should be about football, not about politics. We have, within the next six years, a World Cup in our confederation. Three teams will qualify automatically and I believe that we in the Caribbean and the CFU should be helping to make sure that it is possible that at least two Caribbean teams qualify for that World Cup…. We should be discussing football, football’s development and how we are going to develop our young people in this region,” added the CFU president who was elected to office last year.
In response to the criticism of CFU for not getting involved in the TTFA-FIFA battle, Harris pointed out that what was happening was not unusual.
He said similar intervention was taking place in Jamaica, although he did not give details about the situation in Kingston.
“Jamaica and FIFA are working together and as you can see there is no public spat between Jamaica and FIFA regarding this issue and I am absolutely sure that within a short time whatever matters there are of concern they will be satisfied,” Harris said.
“FIFA is very serious about how we operate in the Caribbean. If they’re giving you these sums of monies, you have to be accountable. It happens to all of us from time to time…. From some time to time all of us get questioned by FIFA and they usually work with us to get things regularized, at a place where everybody is happy.
“I would say, looking from the outside, that I believe that FIFA was giving T&T a ‘bligh’, as we would say in the Caribbean, because of the Home of Football [in Trinidad]. It was supposed to be an income generating programme and when it was closed it would seem that there was nowhere else to turn. All of us are answerable to FIFA and from time to time all of us are in situations that we have to get regularized. It is a normal situation in football,” he added.
Speaking earlier in the programme, Wallace said he thought the TTFA’s battle might have propelled the CFU to speak out, but could not say he was surprised the organisation did not get on board given that it had been silent “for quite some time”.
However, Harris was adamant that the CFU was “working for the betterment of football in the region” and focused on moving forward.