Football's world governing body FIFA and the Confederation of North, Central America and the Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF), are set to deal with issues of death threats, racism and attempts to physically harm directed to members of the T&T football team at the ongoing CONCACAF Gold Cup in the United States.
Angry Mexican fans hurled racial slurs and threw bottles at the T&T players during a Group A encounter between T&T and Mexico at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, USA on Saturday. This situation was further exacerbated by a clash between Mexican winger Hirving 'Chucky' Lozano, goalkeeper Marvin Phillip and defender Alvin Jones at the end of the first half which resulted in Lozano being rushed to the hospital with a suspected injury to the head.
The game ended in a goalless draw as coach Angus Eve employed a counter-attacking strategy that, not only frustrated the tournament's defending champions, but prevented them from scoring.
Eve, yesterday confirmed to Guardian Media Sports that because of death threats to him and his players- Phillip and Jones, there has been heightened police presence at the hotel where the team is currently based.
The T&T Football Association has since reacted to this development by writing to both FIFA and the CONCACAF and has since received a promise that something will be done about it soon, the coach said.
Eve, a former national player, did not have this experience during his five years of playing for T&T at the Gold Cup, and in reliving the horrifying experience said they were outnumbered in terms of support at the stadium. However, the Mexican fans became very angry when their team could not score, so they started chanting racial slurs, throwing bottles at the players on the touchline and even shouted death threats.
"I must admit that I felt a bit bad for my players, and though there would normally be a police presence at our hotel, there was a heightened presence because of the death threats," Eve explained.
Eve in the post-match interview said the match was stopped three times because of the crowd's behaviour, noting: "At the third time I felt the referee should have stopped the match and awarded it to us because we have to stamp out this type of behaviour in the game."
To date, the T&TFA football page has been littered with threats and abuse from Mexican fans, with many also directed to Jones and Phillip. Phillip has since apologised to Lozano, saying there was definitely no intention to cause harm and later wished the Mexican player a speedy recovery.
On Sunday, Guardian Media Sports got a glimpse of some of the things that were said on the TTFA football page. Among the comments were: " Y'all some of the nastiest people I've ever seen play soccer. Y'all just go against Mexico to try and injure them. We're starting a petition to lick y'all out of the Gold Cup. Y'all aren't worth it"; "y'all some hoes for what cha did to Chucky Lozano"; "You will pay for Chucky Lozano you monkeys,".
On Monday, the president of the T&T Olympic Committee Brian Lewis, said he was angry when he heard about it initially.
Lewis who is also chairman of the Sport Integrity Global Alliance as well as the Gender Race-Inclusion and Diversity Standing Committee said: "What I was told it was trolling, but obviously it was racist, outright racism, the term used, the 'N' word, monkeys.
We can't hide from it, the fact that it is something that I have raised on more than one occasion, about the issue of racism in global sport. In April the T&TOC joined a boycott of social media for a weekend in protest of racism, racial activities taking place on social media. So I was initially angry because even though you're aware of it when it happens in an open way, it is triggering."
Meanwhile, a news release from the TTFA on Monday states: "The Trinidad and Tobago Football Association strongly condemns the discriminatory actions, racist comments and threatening messages directed at our players, staff, supporters and country following the Senior Men's National Team 0-0 result versus Mexico on 10th July 2021. Discrimination and racism have no part in our game and our society. Official reports have been lodged with CONCACAF and we are working with them to ensure that the safety and wellbeing of the team is maintained. These actions are rooted in division, so it is paramount that we unite to stamp them out. The Fight Back is Against Racism and Discrimination."