Prime Min­is­ter Dr Kei­th Row­ley says the foot­ball fra­ter­ni­ty should have no more ex­cus­es for its poor state, both on and off the field, in the fu­ture now.

His com­ment came as he wit­nessed the open­ing of the Home of Foot­ball at Bal­main, Cou­va, by Trinidad and To­ba­go Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion pres­i­dent David John-Williams.

The mil­lion-dol­lar fa­cil­i­ty was con­struct­ed on land do­nat­ed to the TTFA by the Gov­ern­ment and fund­ing came via FI­FA grant.

De­liv­er­ing the fea­ture ad­dress in front a large crowd, Row­ley, sig­nalling that the time had come for the sport to be­come self-suf­fi­cient, said, “In our schools, we have boys and girls who are re­ly­ing on the man­age­ment of this sport and not on the Gov­ern­ment.

“The Gov­ern­ment has played its part and will con­tin­ue to play its part, but what is miss­ing is the man­age­ment we used to have when peo­ple served for ser­vice sake and pro­duced from it the tal­ent that was wait­ing for that help­ing hand.”

The Prime Min­is­ter, who, along with FI­FA pres­i­dent Gi­an­ni In­fan­ti­no and CON­CA­CAF pres­i­dent Vic­tor Mon­tagliani, was in­vit­ed to of­fi­cial­ly open the fa­cil­i­ty, added, “To­day ladies and gen­tle­men, if we are fa­mil­iar with fail­ure, it is in the area of the man­age­ment of our sport. We fea­tured promi­nent­ly in many sports at the high­est in­ter­na­tion­al lev­els, led by vol­un­teers with far less re­sources than we have now.

“My friend Hase­ly Craw­ford is here, he won an Olympic Gold medal and we had no sta­di­um and no track, but he won it. To­day, we have these fa­cil­i­ties and we now have ab­solute­ly no ex­cuse if we be­have our­selves and ac­cept from the tax­pay­ers the hun­dreds of mil­lions of dol­lars and the land we have made avail­able to those of you who man­age foot­ball.”

He added, “So hav­ing part­nered with you, hav­ing part­nered with foot­ball to make this pub­lic as­set land avail­able to you, and mon­ey avail­able to those in­volved in the man­age­ment of the game, the tax­pay­ers can ex­pect no less but a dra­mat­ic im­prove­ment, and a full use of the fa­cil­i­ty in the vi­sion in which it was pre­sent­ed and the way it was de­signed.”

The fa­cil­i­ty is ex­pect­ed to be a rev­enue-gen­er­at­ing as­set for the TTFA that will ease the sport’s de­pen­den­cy on gov­ern­ment and cor­po­rate T&T fund­ing.

FI­FA boss In­fan­ti­no, who al­so had a hand in con­vinc­ing Row­ley to hand over the land for the con­struc­tion of the fa­cil­i­ty a few years ago, called on Gov­ern­ment to name the Ato Boldon Sta­di­um the new Ato Boldon Na­tion­al Sta­di­um of T&T. Look­ing at Row­ley, he al­so jok­ing­ly said that if the TTFA is giv­en the sta­di­um to run, the Gov­ern­ment can still run the Com­mon­wealth Games in 2021.

He thanked Row­ley, Mon­tagliani, John-Williams and all those who con­tributed to the Home of Foot­ball be­com­ing a re­al­i­ty, not­ing that when he was cam­paign­ing to be­come FI­FA pres­i­dent, he came to T&T not ex­pect­ing to find some­one who had the heart beat­ing for foot­ball in T&T.

“I was not be­liev­ing to find some­one like this in T&T, I have to say the truth be­cause T&T Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion was more or less in the same state as FI­FA. David was say­ing in sham­bles, and I said sham­bles was maybe a com­pli­ment.”

Al­so ad­dress­ing the gath­er­ing, John-Williams said when they as­sumed of­fice it con­firmed to them that the or­gan­i­sa­tion re­quired re­struc­tur­ing and need­ed to be put on a sound fi­nan­cial path. He said while some may ex­pect him to beat his chest for the con­struc­tion of the fa­cil­i­ty he would do no such thing, as it was just one spoke in the strate­gic wheel that was quick­ly ac­cel­er­at­ing to put T&T foot­ball on a sus­tain­able path.

Af­ter­wards, Row­ley, In­fan­ti­no, Mon­tagliani and a large crowd of dig­ni­taries that in­clud­ed for­mer French in­ter­na­tion­al Youri Djorka­eff were tak­en on a tour of the fa­cil­i­ty.

But while scores turned up for the event, mem­bers of the Unit­ed TTFA slate head­ed by William Wal­lace, who will be tak­ing on John-Williams and his slate for the TTFA helm this Sun­day, were ab­sent. How­ev­er, Richard Fer­gu­son, the oth­er pres­i­den­tial can­di­date, was on hand.

How­ev­er, sev­er­al oth­er for­mer play­ers, coach­es and ad­min­is­tra­tive mem­bers were on hand, among them Os­mond Down­er, Ron La For­rest, Lester Os­una, Bertille St Clair and Brent San­cho.