The announcement of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between FIFA and the Caribbean Football Union(CFU) on June 1, comes as a welcome development. The report in the newspaper of some of the contents shows noble intent, as reflected in comments made by FIFA and CONCACAF Presidents as well as Irwin LaRocque, the General Secretary of CARICOM.
We in Trinidad and Tobago, need to be appreciative of this initiative as some of us were not too long ago, describing FIFA as colonial, dictatorial, murderers (recall “get your knees off our neck”) and vowing to bring FIFA to their knees instead, even seeing ourselves as an example of a fighting spirit to the benefit of all small associations worldwide.
One has to hope for expressions of appreciation in like manner. All parties reported in the newspaper referred to the love of football in the region and the place it holds in our society. We are the football-loving Caribbean from Suriname to the Bahamas.
The CFU, no doubt, had a role to play in this final product and will be expected to see the rollout and implementation. The intent to get involved from our primary school’s programme up shows aspiration towards the long-term, something notably lacking in our planning.
We recall FIFA’s action in Asia on the Child Labour crisis, where they went into countries and got children into schools and out of factories. The problem of depletion of the ozone layer, saw them banning sprays in the treatment of injuries that were adversely affecting the ozone. Likewise, the mandated compulsory use of shinguards was intended to prevent communicable diseases on the field in a contact sport. We may add their concern for racism and efforts made in this despicable problem.
Other key focus areas of the agreement include measures for the protection of children and vulnerable adults involved in football activities, the fight against match manipulation and the promotion of sports integrity and social responsibility.
“We are delighted to enter into this agreement with the Caribbean Community, the aim of which is to leverage our sport as a catalyst for social development in the region,” said Infantino.
As an international organisational, FIFA often takes the lead and has a commendable record of pro-activity and relevance. This latest is on our doorsteps and we should ensure that we duly benefit.
Retired FIFA Referee and Principal