Mark the Date – November 18th, 2019 – TTFA’s Home of Football is Officially Opened.

FIFA President Gianni Infantino, alongside Concacaf President and FIFA Vice-President Victor Montagliani, initiated today a tour of Caribbean and Central American countries with a first stop in Trinidad and Tobago. The highlight of the visit was the inauguration of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association’s (TTFA) Home of Football.

The new Home of Football, which was funded through FIFA’s Forward Programme, features three full-size natural grass pitches and provides a modern infrastructure for the development of football on the islands. At the inauguration ceremony, President Infantino took to the stage alongside Prime Minister Keith Rowley, Minister of Sport and Youth Affairs Shamfa Cudjoe, and TTFA President David John-Williams.

 “I am honoured and proud to be here today in Trinidad and Tobago and witness the opening of the brand new Home of Football, which is the realisation of a project initiated under the TTFA leadership and jointly achieved with FIFA,” Infantino said.

“During my last visit in the country two and a half years ago all this did not exist, and I can only be thankful to the TTFA and to the government of Trinidad and Tobago for their work and support in making it possible. This state of the art Home of Football is a model for the region and a legacy for TTFA and for the youth in the country that is here to stay.”

The visit also included discussions with TTFA President David John-Williams and his team about the state of football on the islands and the strategic focus of the federation. President Infantino praised the TTFA leadership for making good use of FIFA’s Forward Programme to support development efforts locally. Besides the Home of Football, the TTFA has been investing in a new professional league and has benefited from dedicated travel funding for national teams, a cost which is particularly heavy for some islands of the Caribbean, stated.

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.