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Platini hails "historic" step for European sports policy

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Michel Platini, President of UEFA, the European football body, has hailed the so-called "Cooperation Arrangement" signed in Brussels with the European Commission, the European Union (EU)'s executive arm, last week as a "historic step forward for European sports policy".

The French footballer turned administrator used a keynote speech to EU Sports Ministers in Rome to pledge continued collaboration with the EU on matters of mutual interest, while asking for reciprocal support to ensure that sport would be based on values of "honesty, sustainability and solidarity" in future.

"I am counting on your active support because we can achieve more together than alone and because progress for one means progress for everyone," he told Ministers.

In the course of a scathing attack on the practice of third-party ownership (TPO) of the economic rights of footballers, Platini called for a "tailor-made legal framework" and said there was "no place" for TPO of players in European sport.

"If we fail to deal with this properly it will not just be a defeat for UEFA, nor even just for the sports movement, but for all Europe," he argued.

On his own body's Financial Fair Play (FFP) initiative, Platini claimed that "previously unthinkable" reforms had been adopted and implemented.

"Aggregate losses among European clubs, which had reached €1.7 billion (£1.3 billion/$2.2 billion) in 2011, fell to €800 million ($1billion/£631 million) in 2013, a drop of more than 50 per cent in less than two years," he said.

"Thanks to Financial Fair Play, we are therefore heading in the right direction."

Platini's comments on TPO come less than a month after Sepp Blatter, his counterpart at FIFA, announced that the world governing body had decided to ban TPO after a transitional period.

Other leading football figures have, however, either expressed opposition to an outright ban or underlined the difficulty of stopping it.

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TTFA elections postponed ...local football’s ruling body reviewing its constitution

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SCHEDULED Trinidad and Tobago Football Asscociation (TTFA) elections has been postponed to June 2015, while a Constitutional Reform Panel begins work on the new TTFA Constitution that will be presented to the TTFA Executive Committee, members, and stakeholders for national review and ratification. The ratification process and several other areas of concern cited by football’s governing body FIFA, resulted in the delay in TTFA elections. However, regional zone elections will take place as originally scheduled.

CONCACAF representatives Reudi Broennimann, Primo Corvaro and Marco Leal, will join TTFA president Raymond Tim Kee in selecting local representatives to serve on the Constitutional Reform Panel. Tim Kee had written CONCACAF president and FIFA vice-president Jeffrey Webb in April 2014, when Tim Kee recommended a TTFA constitutional overhaul centred on the principle of “One Club, One Vote” for the national body.
The TTFA also sent correspondences to FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke and legal affairs director Marcos Villiger, recommending the same and proposed the setting up of Constitutional Reform Panel consisting of two TTFA members and four local persons of impeccable credentials and character.
“As the newly-elected president I have been charged with the awesome and serious task of bringing true reform to our organisation and address a multitude of buses committed by the previous regime,” Tim Kee said in his letter. Tim Kee cited that efforts by some Executive Members to “undermine constitutional reform”.
He noted that the body had held no agm with its stakeholder members for many years, and under its former name (TTFF) is registered as a sole proprietorship owned by its former president Oliver Camps. He cited that recent audit shows the local football body in more serious financial peril than first thought.
“As it is currently organised, an inornate amount of authority is centred on the Executive Committee, from personal decisions, including selection of the national team coach, to daily operational duties, to carrying out the policies of it implements, the TTFF Executive Committee encompasses legislative, executive and judicial function in its 12-member body,” Tim Kee added in his letter.
“The current TTFF constitution created by the past regime to consolidate power in the hands of a few and is anathema to true democracy.” Tim Kee further added that the purpose of the Reform Commission was to address structural deficiencies, and its finding will be shred with the shared with the general TTFF membership.
Responsing to Tim Kee, FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke said FIFA is aware of the dire financial difficulties faced by the TTFA, and urged that the organisation launch a diligent statutory reform process which will allow it to function efficiently and prevent crisis by the one currently faced.
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T&T ready to turn tables on Costa Rica

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T&T’s Soca Princesses will be looking to make it three wins in a row when they meet Costa Rica in the semi-finals of the Concacaf Women’s Championship in Chester, Pennsylvania, on Friday.  “Coming into this tournament we knew all we needed was two wins to get out the group. Those two wins have now seen us into the semi finals where we hope to make it three wins in a row,” said captain Maylee Attin-Johnson following T&T’s 2-1 victory over Guatemala on Monday night which sealed this country’s place in the semi-finals. The squad was scheduled to arrive in Chester around 3 pm yesterday.

T&T also defeated Haiti but lost to the United States. “We knew US was going to be challenging. But we always believed we were a class above Haiti and Guatemala,” she continued. About her penalty strike which turned out to be the winner after Guatemala pulled a goal back later on, Attin-Johnson added: “It definitely boosted my confidence. I haven't been playing my usual game but I think this game I came into my own on the offensive side of things which is a plus for the team.”

Admitting that the build up to the tournament had its challenges for the T&T team, Attin-Johnson credited the TTFA for being able to negotiate to have Randy Waldrum take over the reigns of the team prior to the Caribbean Finals which followed a training camp in Houston earlier this year. He is assisted by his son Ben and goalkeeper coach Lincoln Phillips. “I definitely want to give credit to the Association (TTFA) for bringing in Randy. It's a fantastic feeling seeing that all the hardwork is finally coming to fruition. We have a world class coaching staff that prepares us well. Once we execute the game plan, it's going to be difficult to beat us and we hope that on Friday we go out there and do so,” she said.

Attin-Johnson said the team is eager to turn the tables on Costa Rica after they defeated the T&T Under 20 Women in their final World Cup qualifying match in January. “We haven't played to our full potential thus far and we haven't fielded our full team throughout this tournament due to injuries, so we hope that the three days rest will do well for the injured ones. We are very anxious for this game and we want to avenge the Under 20 loss to them.” If T&T loses on Friday, they will have a further chance for a World Cup spot at the third place match on Sunday and a possible home and away playoff with Ecuador looms in November.

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WICB says sorry to stakeholders

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Bridgetown—The West Indies Cricket Board yesterday said it was deeply embarrassed by the premature and unfortunate end to the recent tour of India and apologized to the BCCI and all stakeholders—especially the cricket loving public of the West Indies and India—for the events leading up to the development. The Board met in Barbados yesterday and agreed to review the events which led to the fiasco.

In a subsequent release, the Board said it  was establishing a Task Force, comprising critical stakeholders, to review the premature end of the tour. “The Task Force will meet with all parties, including WIPA and the players, before reporting its findings to the Board of Directors.” The Board will also request a meeting with the BCCI, as well as schedule an urgent debriefing with the West Indies team management unit which accompanied the team.

The WICB also said it will use its best endeavours to ensure a successful tour of South Africa as scheduled. The release said the WICB was mindful of the related decisions of the BCCI Working Committee (See story on this page). It said in light of the longstanding good relationship between WICB and BCCI, which goes back decades and has produced numerous mutual benefits, the WICB was looking forward to meeting with the BCCI to discuss these decisions which can have serious implications for West Indies cricket.

The release noted: “WICB believes that a way can be found to repair the damage that has been caused and to ensure that similar events do not recur, with the focus being on the betterment of West Indies and world cricket. “The WICB thanks all stakeholders, particularly the ICC, BCCI, their broadcasters and sponsors for their patience and understanding in this matter and looks forward to the continuation of a strong relationship between our Boards.” The WICB further stated it was committed to acting as expeditiously as the situation allows, and will provide further information to the public as soon as it was appropriate to do so. (CMC)

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Fifa arrives for TTFA Constitution talks

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Work on the new T&T Football Association Constitution will begin this week when representatives of the Independent Football Reform Commission (IFRC), Fifa and Concacaf meet with president of the T&T Football Association (TTFA) Raymond Tim Kee and local officials. A press conference will be held tomorrow to announce major announcements concerning T&T football. Concacaf representatives Reudi Broennimann, Primo Corvaro, and Marco Leal will join Tim Kee and selected local representatives to serve on the Constitutional Reform Panel to begin work on the new TTFA Constitution that will be presented to the TTFA Executive Committee, members and stakeholders for national review and ratification.

The ratification process and several other areas of concern cited by Fifa will also result in the delay in TTFA elections until after June 15, 2015. However, regional zone elections will take place as originally scheduled. “When I came into office two years ago, I vowed to make meaningful change to this FA, first by taking the necessary steps to improve our on the field product and second, by initiating efforts to develop a new structure and governance model for T&T football,” Tim Kee stated.  The origins of the reform effort were born soon after Tim Kee’s election as FA President when he met with Fifa officials, including Fifa President Sepp Blatter, to discuss the way forward for T&T football.

The idea of the Reform Commission was later introduced to and accepted by Fifa representatives during the 2013 Concacaf Congress in Panama, site of the page two presentation of the now infamous Simmons Report that detailed the events and activities surrounding the World Cup bribery scandal that took place in Trinidad in 2011. After convincing Fifa that T&T possessed enough knowledge and talent to achieve substantive reform, the TTFA president began assembling individuals, such as Shaka Hislop, T&T Olympic Committee president Brian Lewis, and Senator Elton Prescott S.C., to join what would be known as the IFRC. “I would like to thank members of the IFRC for their tireless effort in producing a document that can be a template for other sporting NGBs and, of course, thank you to Fifa and Concacaf, particularly Fifa secretary Jerome Valcke and Concacaf president and Fifa VP, Jeff Webb, for their supporting role in our efforts to make football a better governed entity that will now have a real chance at operating and serving all of its members and stakeholders directly.” added Tim Kee.

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