FIFA President Gianni Infantino’s one-day visit to Trinidad and Tobago yesterday brought with it news that the Ato Boldon Stadium in Balmain, Central Trinidad is to be the new home of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association, the governing body for the sport in the country.
The FIFA boss referenced the announcement by TT Minister of Sport and Youth Affairs Daryl Smith in his brief address on site at the stadium which even though named in honour of athlete Ato Boldon and boasts of a mondoathletic track, has largely been used for competition football.
The stadium was officially commissioned in July 2001.
TTFA President David John Williams and Infantino later turned the sod on an outdoor are of the facility to signal future construction of the TTFA home.
The TTFA who has marked TT’s official status in the game as at July 23,1908 has largely been using rented premises over the years and a cash flow problem within the last couple years has seen the organization housed under the uncovered stands at the Hasely Crawford Stadijum in Port of Spain.
The TTFA is to begin move of its administrative gear into the Ato in the coming days.
The Association president while confirming with NEWS POWER SPORT that infrastructural works will have to be done could not give a definitive timeline on start-up or source of funding.
The President however did express his and his organisation’s gratitude to the Government and the Sports Company of Trinidad and Tobago for their commitment to supporting football.
John-Williams disclosed that Trinidad and Tobago will also be hosting the CONCACAF 2018 UNder-20 Womens Championship which also serves as a World Cup qualifier for the female teams.
FIFA President Infantino had a busy day yesterday which included a courtesy call on the Trinidad and Tobago President Anthony Carmona and lunch with Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley.
He featured in a celebrity football match at the Ato Boldon Stadium last evening before attending a TTFA dinner last night.
He heads to Surioname today after having also visited Grenada and Aruba this past weekend when he attended the CONCACAF Congress.
Yesterday meanwhile the United States, Mexico and Canada announced that they were making a joint bid to host the 2026 World Cup, which the U.S. soccer chief said would produce the biggest financial boon ever for FIFA.
No nation from CONCACAF, the governing body for soccer in North and Central America and the Caribbean, has hosted the tournament since the United States in 1994.
The 2018 World Cup will be in Russia, while Qatar hosts the event in 2022. The bidding process for the 2026 tournament is expected to begin later this year and to run until 2020.
“We announce our bid to bring the World Cup back to the United States, to Canada and Mexico in 2026,” U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati told a news conference in the 102nd floor observatory of the World Trade Center in lower Manhattan.
“We look forward to welcoming the world after what we hope is a successful bid.”
Gulati said the initial plan was for 60 of the 80 World Cup games to be played in the U.S., with Canada and Mexico hosting 10 each. All matches from the quarter-finals onward would be in the U.S.