The SLFA Fiasco

The St Lucia Football Association (SLFA) is seeking to diffuse some untimely rumblings in its camp stemming from Saint Lucia’s non-participation in the current CONCACAF World Cup Qualifiers.

This setback did not go down well, especially with a group of national players who expressed their displeasure by staging a form of ‘protest action’ outside the SLFA headquarters, last week. They were supposedly said to be in training.

The suddenness and intensity of this protest action stirred up some media frenzy and public feedback both here and within the region.

Buckling under the pressure exerted by the country’s non-participation in the qualifiers, aided in part by the government making a public statement distancing itself from the SLFA’s decision and an outpouring of public support for the players, the SLFA felt that it was obligated to provide a response to this latest issue.

At a press briefing, last Friday, SLFA President Lyndon Cooper sought to clarify the matter.

What transpired with the SLFA last week should never have occurred if communication was seen and used as a strategic tool by the SLFA to deal with that particular problem which, by all accounts was staring the SLFA in the face early enough to have been dealt with in a manner that would not have led to last week’s ugly scenes.

Did the SLFA president, Lynden Cooper, drop the ball in failing to do what he should have done earlier to prevent things from taking the ugly turn that they took?

Judging by the numerous calls for his resignation there are many who felt he, indeed, dropped the ball on that score.

We are not in the belly of the SLFA to know all its ins and outs, however what we do know suggests that a lapse in communication seems to be the Achilles heel in the Association’s seemingly airtight defense.

We are of the view that Cooper needs to get the communication aspect within his Association back on track, along with the acknowledgement and awareness of the need for transparency and accountability as well as the need for competent support staff as quickly as possible, or else he will find himself in even more problems going forward.

Saint Lucia’s football fraternity looks up to the office of the Presidency of the St. Lucia Football Association to improve the sport in this country, not just by hosting tournaments and sprucing up arenas, but by developing players, especially the young and upcoming ones. This, if nothing else, is why communicating with all stakeholders of the sport is important.

Further, after an examination of Cooper’s stewardship as head honcho of the sport here, vis a vis what transpired last week, we asked: Are calls for his resignation justified?

While we reserve comment on this particular question, as we believe those more acquainted with football on the island are in a better position than us to comment on it, we believe that the SLFA should see this current scenario as a platform to heal any divide that exists in the sport.

Clearly there are issues with and within the SLFA, players and lovers of the sport that definitely need to be resolved and so we hope that Cooper and his team see this as a stimulant to push the SLFA into better relationships with its stakeholders, and indeed to St. Lucia as a whole with an aim to Propelling St. Lucia Football to Higher Heights.

Further, and also of importance: Would FIFA apply penalties for Saint Lucia’s non-participation in the qualifiers, and if it does, how would such measures impact the SLFA? More of this in a subsequent issue.

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