General Secretary for the Turks and Caicos Islands Football Association (TCIFA), Oliver Smith, has apologised for what some have been describing as an ugly incident that occurred after the TCI vs. Haiti world cup qualifier at the TCIFA field last Saturday.
A viral video shows Smith walking up to a Haitian national player who congregated along with his team on the field, and yanked a ball that was in his possession. It is believed that it is one of the players that had scored a hat-trick in the Haitians' 10-0 whipping of the TCI.
The following is Smith's letter of apology:
"On June 5, 2021, approximately 10 to 15 minutes after a World Cup qualifier game between the Turks and Caicos Islands and Haiti Men’s National Team there was an exchange between some members of the Haitian football team and I.
"The exchange was as a result of the Haitian Team’s refusal to return footballs belonging to the Turks and Caicos Islands Football Association. My response was not in keeping with established protocols, and was unbecoming of a representative of the TCIFA. For that I apologize to all affected parties.
"This situation serves as a poignant reminder to all stakeholders to remain respectful of each other, and that football is a sport which unites all nations and creeds. It is through this sport that opportunities for advancement have been made available to many persons living in the Turks and Caicos Islands irrespective of nationality.
"We all have a role in safeguarding the sanctity of the game, and we must never allow tempers or egos to overshadow its purpose. I am now equally painfully reminded of that and again express my apology."