The Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) laments the decision of the Ministry of Health (MOH) to not allow the TTFA to host this country’s opening Qatar 2022 World Cup Qualifier versus Guyana in Trinidad, in a hot-bubble environment, on March 25th 2021.
The TTFA has therefore taken a decision to stage the match at the Pan American Stadium, San Cristobal, Dominican Republic. The date of the match remains March 25th. The TTFA will provide further information over the coming days in relation to arrangements for the Men’s Senior Team leading up to this important opening qualifying match.
Over the last few months, we have been in discussions with the MOH, Sports Company of Trinidad and Tobago and other relevant Government agencies. Based on these discussions, numerous proposals and scenarios were put forward to host the match in Trinidad, but unfortunately none were ultimately successful, which would satisfy our FIFA mandates for international competitions.
The Ministry of Health’s protocol and guidelines mandate fourteen (14) days quarantine for anyone entering the country. This condition is not feasible given the FIFA international match window and the MOH has declined the TTFA’s request of an exemption to facilitate a hot-bubble which would allow members of both teams, including staff, to arrive within a suitable time period conducive to international football.
We have worked tirelessly with FIFA, CONCACAF and the Government of Trinidad and Tobago to find solutions but regrettably a compromise could not be found.
The TTFA is incredibly disappointed and shares the public’s frustration at not being able to play our designated home match on local soil. However, we do understand the responsibilities of the MOH and appreciate the efforts that they are making to preserve the safety of the citizens of our country.
While the decision is a bitter pill to swallow, we believe that sport and the positive mental health aspects of sports must not be undervalued and applaud the Government of Trinidad and Tobago for allowing outdoor recreational sports to resume.
The TTFA is committed to giving the Men’s Senior National Team the best preparation possible during these challenging times. We have been working and continue to work on solutions to provide Head Coach Terry Fenwick the opportunity to engage in international friendly matches and training camps ahead of the qualifiers. With the confirmation that the venue has been set for San Cristobal, we anticipate that further plans will be rolled out over the coming days.