The Executive Committee of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Football Federation at a meeting (photo: Robertson S. Henry)

KINGSTOWN, ST. VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES; TUESDAY JULY 24, 2018 – Since the ban of Mr. Venold Coombs by FIFA effective July 03, 2018, there has been a scramble by a number of persons to decide who is best suited to head the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Football Federation. Accusations, innuendos, conniving, and in some cases friendships are being threatened, as persons seek to impose their personalities on the footballing fraternity.

In that scenario, many persons are beginning to ask some pertinent questions, in order to understand and separate the sense from the non-sense. Trust is paramount in any organisation and relationship, and when that critical component is questioned, then he or she is of no good to organisation, relationship, or country. Some will add even family and self.

In a sit-down with a former St. Vincent and the Grenadines national football player, he was concerned with the state of the game’s administration. He said that while God Almighty alone sees into the hearts of men, the many persons who are in a mad scramble to seek the office of president of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Football Federation, should be asking many questions of themselves. He said that if they could answer those questions truthfully, then the first step in reforming and cleaning up the administration of football would have been taken.

Having played the game many years ago, he said that while Venold Coombs must take much blame for the current state of the administration of the game, those who are now seeking to become the movers and shakers of the sport locally, did remain quiet when a number the affiliate clubs were arm-twisted into selling their soul for a few balls and handouts. Having remained quiet, they are just as guilty.

He pointed out that while the so-called whistle blower is beating his chest about being the person who leaked the information about the sale of the 2014 World Cup tickets to FIFA, and which was ultimately responsible for the removal of Venold Coombs, one must ask why, after he leaked the information to FIFA, he remained on the executive committee all that time. Was he the only one involved in the leaking of this information?

Why, after he accused Venold Coombs of being corrupt and was subsequently questioned by the Financial Intelligence Unit, he remained on the executive committee up to the morning of the 2015 General Meeting.

He remained on the executive committee, attended meetings, made contributions, and then is alleged to have engaged in the deceitful act of recording those meetings? To publicise what was discussed at those meetings by any executive committee member is, according to the former national football of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, “one of the highest acts of treachery.”

Why is it that there are persons out there who are now using emails and correspondences from when they served? How deep is the moral decadence of those persons? It is one thing to accuse persons of being unethical, but what should one be called when they breach confidentiality; when they remain part of an organisation but would later stab colleagues in the back.

The former national footballer said that in addition to having his sources, he listens to the various sports programmes, reads the newspapers, and speaks to persons, all the time asking himself and his friends why the clubs have refused to exercise their rights and powers.

There are persons who stopped serving football for years, and are now seeking to re-enter because Venold Coombs is no longer president. A number of former executive members who served on the 2011 – 2015 SVGFF executive committee, said that it is one of the most challenging things to do – work with the former president.

They felt that at times going into a battle with the former president was just too taxing, so they adopted what seem the best approach at the time by remaining quiet. It was not the best of tactics, but they felt that at the time it was the best, but with hindsight, they have admitted that they should have resigned and force the former president to explain to the clubs why his executive members resigned.

The former national footballer said that he knows of persons on the current executive who have served football diligently overs the years and have developed football in their communities. There are also persons who were ostracised by the former president who if they are brought in to work with the present executive and affiliate clubs to form a unified team, can help to develop the sport. He added that there are persons who because of their difference in opinion to the former president was not welcome, and in a few cases, labelled as being against football.

He also said that he like many others believe that the executive did well in the circumstances in keeping the ship moving even, amidst the negative events. He asked if others could have done better under the presidency of Venold Coombs.

There are persons who were called via the telephone, and begged to come and serve the sport of football. Those persons were also written to in an effort to get them to serve but they refused, for many of them pointed out they could not, and would not work with the former president.

According to the former national football player, there are those who just love to see evil done to others so they would feel better about the evils done. These persons would always come out in numbers so gloat, and grab what is available. Too many of us go on living with ‘bad mind’ in this country; only do things to help ourselves, and will only take action which will profit us or our political friends.

There are football clubs who will allow themselves to be misled by those seeking to ingratiate themselves into the executive of the SVGFF. Many are like sharks, feeding on the emotions and perceived weaknesses of the few. These persons will seek to manipulate every situation, use their political influence and offices to satisfy their personal interest and agendas, under the guise of their love for football, football development, and country. There are those who were once on committees, but after being scrutinised were discarded by affiliates who saw right through their double standards.

At this time it is all hands on deck to get rid of what is seemed to be a common enemy, but that common enemy is no longer. How will these silent enemies co-exist knowing full well that the man with whom they are in bed with right now, may very well turn around and like the scorpion, give them a taste of his tail? It is better for persons to be truthful than to behave in one way, yet possess ulterior motives in their heart.

the Executive Committee of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Football Federation at the July 04, 2018 press briefing (photo: Robertson S. Henry)

The former national footballer said that he was told that one of the current executive members has turned on his executive committee. That executive committee member is now in the shadows campaigning to try and fulfil his ambition of becoming the next president of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Football Federation. With a painful expression, the former national player stated that this life is so filled with surprises and like all elections, football elections tend to bring out the worst in the nature of the beast called man.

Of concern is that this executive committee member, along with his other colleagues, gave their solemn undertaking that they are part of a unified executive at the emergency executive meeting held on Tuesday night, July 03, 2018.

All persons have dreams and aspirations, and taking over the helm of football should be one of them, but not in a deceitful manner. Caribbean football history is replete with those who used football in such manner. Chet Greene of Antigua and Barbuda, Jeffery Webb of the Cayman Islands, Jack Warner of Trinidad and Tobago, and Horace Burrell of Jamaica, are the best known.

With whistles being blown, musical chairs the order of the day, arm twisting the new game, betrayals of the past conveniently forgotten, and greed painted over as sincere commitment, the football clubs of St. Vincent and the Grenadines must look within and clean up their own house first. They must have committed persons appointed as their General Council representatives; knowledgeable, experienced and honest persons to occupy executive positions in their clubs; fair-minded and straight-taking technical staff, and a cadre of hard-working committed football players.

Added to that they must have a working constitution to which every member must have a copy, and along with their Bible, would read it diligently. This constitution must serve as the club’s guide and operational handbook. With these simple things in place, each and every one of the football clubs would then be better place in managing the sport of football in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

They must ensure that the right persons serve on the executive committee, all standing committees, ad hoc ones, and that they the affiliate clubs, would administer the game of football according to the constitution of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Football Federation, CONCACAF, and FIFA.

But sadly at present, the piper is playing his pipe, many are dancing to his tune, to the detriment of many, and the sport of football.