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Integrity vital in TFF constitution

7th May 2013
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Editorial Cartoon

One of the changes the new constitution of the Tanzania Football Federation ought to see relates to the question of integrity.

The federation has been instructed by world soccer governing body FIFA to make constitutional amendments that will also focus on the establishment of an organ responsible for evaluating all candidates’ personal integrity.

Lest we forget: soccer is a game with immense ability to mint money from matches, advertisements and endorsements. There is also the annual injection from FIFA to the tune of $250,000 at the disposal of federation officials.

In theory, it is near impossible to know the level or degree of a person’s integrity. However, every candidate intending to vie for a certain post in the federation must be examined thoroughly to know how he or she stands in terms of integrity.

It is undeniable that there are bona fide people who might be interested in being elected just for the sake of it while they know full well that they are confirmed misfits not making the grade as leaders.

These should know that TFF elections are highly competitive not just because people enjoy being in positions of leadership but because of the money factor whether – well-managed soccer can easily grow into a cash cow!

This time around, FIFA has “advised” TFF to amend its constitution without forgetting the need to establish an organ that would bar the inclusion of people with tainted records, including possibly having previously committed offences while serving the federation.

However, going by the principles of natural justice, people should not be barred from vying for election merely on the strength of longstanding allegations levelled against them but without their cases having ever reached the stage of being brought before a court of law.

Still, those responsible for amending the constitution must devise a mechanism or include provisions under which candidates with confirmed problems on the integrity score would be thoroughly screened so that they do not put the game to shame.

For purposes of greater fairness and transparency, both candidates and incumbent office bearers ought to go through the integrity check. As the country strives to raise the standard of soccer, the aim should be to ensure that we vote in officials who are genuinely committed to making Tanzania a soccer powerhouse – at least in this part of the world.

Nor should the election committee be fazed by candidates’ level of education or professional training as a substitute for integrity though, of course, this should not mean going for people who can barely write, read or count.

Our country’s soccer has reached a point where it urgently needs thorough sprucing up if it is to catch up with global trends, becoming truly scientific.

TFF should not turn into an institution greedy people use to exploit every available opportunity for selfish interests. The current leadership must therefore heed the FIFA advice and help Tanzanians both understand and observe the rules and regulations governing the game.

We wish to see TFF elections decided not by irrelevant things such as the real or imagined wealth or influence of candidates but by true ability to lead and guide our soccer to greater and greater heights of success. 

SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN