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Shamfa Cudjoe - Minister of Sports and Youth Affairs.

Minister of Sports and Youth Affairs Shamfa Cudjoe has called on all football stakeholders to come together in the interest of restoring the sport to its former glory days.

On Monday in an interview with Guardian Media Sports she said her government was not in a position to bail out the T&T Football Association (TTFA) and if there’s assistance coming from the parent body (FIFA) concerning dealing with the financial affairs within the embattled football association, straightening things out and putting the association on stable footing, then all should join in and help where necessary.

There has been a battle for the right to manage the affairs of the sport by the ousted United TTFA group, which comprises president William Wallace and vice presidents Clynt Taylor, Sam Phillips and Susan Joseph Warrick, all of whom were replaced by a FIFA-appointed Normalisation Committee on March 17. The sport’s governing body felt the organisation was on the verge of insolvency due to a $50 million debt, coupled with an inability to show programmes and policies that could pay the debt and steer it onto stable footing.

Wallace and his team have since agreed to challenge the appointment of the committee through their lawyer Matthew Gayle through the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) in Lausanne, Switzerland.

“I think FIFA and the normalisation committee through Robert Hadad, has come to assist and I think those who are in positions to assist should jump on board and assist,” said Cudjoe adding that she was not picking sides but believes everyone who has the ability or authority to bring some sort of peace to this situation, should work together to restore football.

“I see the workers and the technical people at the TTFA would have started establishing some strategies alongside the Hadad committee and I think that is something good. The tug-of-war and the throwing of words, the bacchanal on Facebook and on social media, does not help anybody. It doesn’t help the TTFA, it doesn’t help FIFA and it certainly doesn’t help the athletes who are depending on this sport as a means of livelihood and as a means of income generator.”

She explained further that the sport has been tarnished and destroyed by personal egos, and a craving for power, describing it as a back and forth with threats to go to court, as it relates to who is in charge and who is not, etc.

Cudjoe said her only hope is that the necessary stakeholders would come together and focus more on solving the problem at hand so that they can look back at dealing with areas of development, at football touching the communities and athletes, who depend on the sport, to live.