Concacaf development director encouraged by club licensing efforts in T&T

The recent Club Licensing Workshop hosted by the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association in collaboration with CONCACAF has been hailed by the confederation’s Director of Development Jason Roberts as it provides a platform to continue professionalising the game.

Roberts was in Trinidad last week along with CONCACAF head of professional football development Jonathan Martinez and Cristhian Tonelli, Professional football development supervisor at CONCACAF to meet with TTFA Director of club licensing and compliance Norris Ferguson, First Instance Body chairman Christophe Braithwaite prior to a workshop with clubs in the T&T Pro League and Super League.

“We are really excited about this club licensing workshop that we have in place here. I think a key role of ours is the continuing professionalisation of the game and providing access to this information around our new platform called Comet which allows a streamlining of the process,” Roberts told TTFA Media.

“Actually everything is online in a platform that can be accessed the member association, in this case the TTFA alongside Concacaf to ensure that all of our regulations, all our needs and specifications are met and this is something that we think can really help professionalise the game both from the club perspective and the member association. We had a good turn out today of clubs who are very much interested in learning an understanding the platform to ensure they give themselves a better opportunity to operate in a more professional way,” Roberts said.

“I’ve been very encouraged by the meeting that we had with the First Instance Body which is going to look at how exactly how we can implement the across the TTFA and make sure that they clubs are in a position to use this platform and streamline all processes both domestically and from our perspective regionally.

“I think it’s clear that we have a position to ensure that we give best practice scenarios and we work with our member associations to ensure that not only are the best practice models being highlighted and given the necessary inters but also to provide that chance to bring the stakeholders together.”

Roberts went onto say that it was indeed disappointing that clubs from T&T missed out on participating in regional club competitions for the past two years due to compliance failure.

Concacaf’s Cristhian Tonelli interacts with club representatives during the workshop last Wednesday at the Ato Boldon Stadium media room.

“What we have done today bringing the clubs together alongside the TTFA along with our professional football development team has allowed all of those things to happen. I think it is a shame for any of our member associations to not be part, not be eligible for our competitions and we have seen that unfortunately here in Trinidad and Tobago. I think what is absolutely is important here is that our role is to give access to all of our member associations .

“We understand that the club game is vitally important to providing a platform to develop players regionally an from a club perspective and from a member association perspective. We have seen a lot of the players develop through the club system benefit greatly from the national platform,” he said.

Looking ahead to the slate of upcoming CONCACAF Competitions, Roberts said it was important to also place emphasis on development with positive results in mind.

“I think it is an exciting agenda of games coming up for the TTFA. Sometimes it is very difficult to just focus on results when there is so much development going on. Of course as football watchers and football lovers you look to the pitch first and foremost to see the barometer of success. But I think it is going to be about how the results come about, the style of play, putting in place something that is sustainable and able to be continued.

“I think that the additional resources being put into the club game with the Concacaf league, the Shield, the Concacaf League etc has really followed on from that One Concacaf focus that we have whether that be the Nations League increasing the opportunities for more competitions across the region.

“It’s all about the holistic growth that has been put in place by the President Victor Montagliani . I think he has a real vision to ensure that all our member associations can really improve on the pitch. I think that is only through competition and playing games that you are going to develop. We are in a absolutely fantastic time in our growth here at Concacaf to ensure that across the board we are improving not only on the pitch but in infrastructure and other ways which is part of why we are here today with this club licensing workshop,” Roberts said.

TTFA Club licensing director Ferguson presented a rundown on the workshop and the various areas that were in focus.

The overall aim of Club Licensing is to raise the level of Club Football, with four main goals developed:
1. Understand and safeguard Club football.
2. Raise the level of professionalism in Club football Administration.
3. Identify and share best practices of our Clubs and Leagues.
4. Formalize requirements for participation in domestic and regional competitions.   

The rationale for developing those goals was based on the mandate given by Concacaf for Clubs required to participate in the domestic competitions in TTFA, and regional competitions of Concacaf.

In that regard, Concacaf  identified some criteria for participation in the respective competitions:
• Administration
• Sporting
• Infrastructure
• Financial
• Legal

• General Club Information (Club name, Type of Club, Club Address, Phone number and email address. These are mandatory, but Concacaf will also appreciate receiving any more information on the Club to build the data base).
• Club Personnel (Position, Full name, phone number, email address and start date. These are mandatory and may also require applicable documentation to confirm the information stated.

• Youth Team Categories (Youth team, Head Coach, Team Roster)
• Youth Development – Youth programme philosophy and objectives)
• Women’s Football (Active Teams and Overview of programmes)
• Insurance and Medical (First Team Players – Annual Medical Examination, First Team players – Insurance policy)

Stadium – Overview (Home Stadium, Stadium address, Stadium capacity, Stadium – Proof of Ownership or Agreement)
Stadium – Field of play, Equipment and seating – length and width of field, type of playing surface, is the stadium football specific and several questions relative to the stadium. The list is extensive and unless you really need it, will not bother to go into all the categories.

• Club Budget (Upcoming season)
• Club Audited financials (previous season)
• Club Income
• Club Expenses

• Club Statutes
• Club control mechanisms and Ownership Structure
• Annual General meeting date
• Club Legal declaration
• Anti-racism protocol – Declaration of Implementation

“In the circumstances, the workshop was arranged to update those who were already exposed to the fundamentals required, and to make the new participants aware of what is the desirable outcome,” Ferguson stated.

“Therefore, it is my fervent desire that all Clubs are sensitized and willing to go the distance to make their Club operation professional, with the aim of participating in Concacaf Club competitions.”

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