T&T's FIFA World Cup Qualifying match against Guyana will not be played here in T&T, a source close to the situation confirmed to Guardian Media Sports on Friday.
It will now, most-likely be played in Curacao, where an all-expense-covered opportunity will be presented to the teams, being a CONCACAF venue.
It is understood that the FIFA-appointed Normalisation Committee is attempting to negotiate with countries that are willing to help them financially and otherwise, since negotiations with Guyana broke down, due to a request by the Guyana Football Federation for T&T to pay for hotel and accommodation.
Should the match be played outside of T&T, the Terry Fenwick-coached team will miss out on the advantage of playing in front of a home crowd.
According to the source, who spoke to Guardian MediaSports on the condition of anonymity, said it is disappointing, an uncaring and unprofessional government has blocked the idea of a football bubble where the match could have been played, as is being done in many countries around the world.
Guardian Media Sports was told that a decision on the match was taken to the Cabinet, where 12 to 15 ministers supported the match being played in T&T, but it appeared not to have gotten the approval of the Minister of Health Terrence Deyalsingh, under the advice of Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr Roshan Parasram.
Parasram when contacted on Thursday, said Minister Deyalsingh had already spoken about the match and did not want to add to his comments.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Sport and Community Development Shamfa Cudjoe could not be reached for comment. Guardian Media Sports sent questions to Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley about the match via WhatsApp on Tuesday but received no response up to press time yesterday.
The normalisation committee was expected to submit a response to CONCACAF by Thursday (February 18th), but chairman Hadad admitted they had received an extension to this date.
It is still unclear as to the reasons why the match was blanked, the source explained, coming at a time when the country and government are accessible to more information than last year when approval for the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) was granted.
"It is confusing because the government and the Ministry of Health could have sourced more info about staging bubble events from the many countries staging them now," the source said.
They added: "So are they saying that countries like Guyana, Jamaica and all these countries are capable of holding bubble events and we can't in T&T?"
Early yesterday Robert Hadad, chairman of the FIFA-appointed Normalisation Committee called on the public to rally around the government, believing it was well within its rights to take the necessary steps to prevent the new variants of the COVID19 virus from reaching our shores.
"We will do our very best to keep this thing in a hot bubble. I understand, and the committee understands the position of the government, concerning COVID19. They have done a damn good job here, so we need to work with them and trust them," Hadad said.
He noted further: "At the time of the CPL, COVID19 was in a different place from today. So where we are today, all the circumstances are different, so we have to consider things a little bit different. So we will work with the government to find a solution."
The Caribbean Premier League (CPL) received a $6M investment from the government for six club franchise teams, with expectations of returns in the end. To date, however, it is unsure of the returns, despite a properly-run, COVID19-free tournament.
Only last week, national coach Fenwick lashed out at the government for its reluctance to approve the football bubble when the CPL received the go-ahead. According to Fenwick, his team was recently taken in by the United States for an international friendly, and his team and staff were tested every day.
Despite a worrying 7-0 result, however, Fenwick's team was subjected to another 14-day quarantine period when they returned home.