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Venue concerns for T&T/Guyana clash.
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A neutral venue is being considered as an option, as talks between the Normalisation Committee, the Ministry of Sports and the Ministry of Health continue ahead of the country's opening World Cup Qualifying match with Guyana on March 25.

Chairman of the normalisation committee Robert Hadad has assured that he wants the match to be held right here in T&T.

The game is scheduled to take place at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Mucurapo, where coach Terry Fenwick will be hoping to capitalise on home advantage. However, no decision has been made on the match as yet, as the Health Ministry continues to grapple with people entering the country following the new variant of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has proven to be much more dangerous.

Hadad told Guardian Media Sports yesterday that there is still no plan for the match, however, a neutral venue is always there as a back-up plan.

The local football boss did not say where the neutral venue will be or if it was raised during their talks, only saying: "We are trying to have the match played in Trinidad."

Meanwhile, he has ruled out a proposal for the tri-nation international friendly football bubble with T&T, St Vincent and the Grenadines and Dominica, which was carded to take place at mid this month.

According to Hadad, these friendlies will be difficult due to the risk involved.

On Saturday, Fenwick lashed out at government officials for what he believes, is a reluctance to facilitate a proposed football-bubble that will be similar to what happened with the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) cricket tournament last year, from August 18 to September 10.

The England-born coach has called for similar treatment, saying it is important to capitalise on home advantage.

Fenwick and his team will resume preparation for the match at the Mucurapo venue on Wednesday.

After a 7-0 demolition at the hands of host United States on January 31 in Orlando, Florida, the T&T players, staff and coaches were made to serve a seven-day quarantine period at the Home of Football in Balmain, Couva, upon their return from the US.

Following the quarantine at the Home of Football, they were also made to undergo another seven-day self-imposed quarantine at their respective homes which ended on Tuesday.

The T&T team is in Group F of the World Cup Qualifiers, along with Puerto Rico, St Kitts and Nevis and Bahamas. Only the top team will progress to the second round of the qualifiers from the group.

Following the encounter with the Guyanese, the Soca Warriors will be away to Puerto Rico (March 28), away to the Bahamas (June 5), and home to St Kitts and Nevis (June 8.).

Should T&T win the group, they will take on the winner of Group A which features the likes of El Salvador, Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, Montserrat, and the US Virgin Islands.

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By Roger Seepersad (T&T Express).


TTFA requests more time

The Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA), through the head of the FIFA-appointed normalisation committee, chairman Robert Hadad, is still in discussions with government officials for approval to host Guyana in the national team’s opening match of the FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign on March 25.

Hadad confirmed yesterday that discussions are ongoing and that the normalisation committee has asked FIFA for more time to finalise arrangements with the T&T government for the match.

It has been reported that the deadline date to indicate this country’s ability to host the encounter has expired, while the TTFA is still waiting for clearance to host the match from Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr Roshan Parasram and Ministry of Health (MoH) officials.

Asked for an update on the situation, Hadad responded: “(We are) working with the Minster of Sport and Minister of Health. Still trying to come up with a plan.”

The country’s borders remain closed for everyone except nationals. They must seek exemptions from the Ministry of National Security, with a mandatory 14-day quarantine period required, to be split evenly between a State-approved facility and the national’s home.

The T&T footballers recently travelled to the USA for a friendly international and had to undergo a quarantine period at the Home of Football upon their return.

If T&T are unable to get clearance for the match to be held in Trinidad, then the TTFA may have to give up home advantage.

Asked if there was a deadline date for government approval for the game to go ahead as scheduled, Hadad said: “We are asking for more time.” Asked if they were asking FIFA for more time to put arrangements in place for the match, Hadad said “yes”.