The FIFA Normalisation Committee set to take over the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association will find themselves without a dollar to do so after a court order gave former accountant, Kendall Walkes, the power to empty the organisation’s accounts in lieu of moneys owed.

According to reports, the TTFA accounts stand at TT$300,000 while Walkes is owed a little more than TT$5 million.

Walkes attorney, Melissa Roberts-John, had said on Tuesday that the movement of the funds was awaiting the court’s registrar’s signature but that that had been delayed because of the smaller staff at work due to attempts to stave off the spread of COVID-19.

While the amount is but a fraction of what is owed, Walkes’ attorney believes a message has been sent.

“It is nothing much, but every drop fills the bucket,” Roberts-John told T&T website Wired868.

“It sends a message to the TTFA because I don’t think they want all their line of creditors to do what we did.”

While the TTFA will regain power over its accounts once Walkes has emptied it, his attorney indicated that there could be more garnishings if the organisation does not negotiate repayment of the balance of the debt.

“Now, we will write the TTFA requiring payment for the outstanding balance. If nothing comes of that, we can seek a further order,” said Roberts-John.

There has been no response from the TTFA on the issue after FIFA ordered the organisation’s board to vacate offices and appointed a Normalisation Committee to sort out its financial affairs.

Even without the FIFA takeover, the TTFA’s offices were closed as part of social distancing methods to fight the spread of COVID-19 and paused the training sessions of all national teams.

Still, Roberts-John feels the TTFA’s response has been too slow.

“We wrote them on 21 February 2020 with our proposal and they acknowledged receipt on 27 February and said they will revert to me once they have a figure in mind. And that was their last response,” said Roberts-John.

“[…] We have heard nothing about our proposal since, which doesn’t surprise me anymore. But we are still willing to negotiate—that has not been taken off the table.”

Retired Trinidad and Tobago international and sports pundit Shaka Hislop has lashed out at the recent FIFA takeover of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA), insisting the move is tantamount to betrayal by world football’s governing body.

Last week, FIFA announced the decision to appoint a normalization committee to handle the affairs of the country’s football after a recent ‘fact-finding’ mission that it claims turned up instances of “low financial management methods” and “massive debt.”

With the TTFA changing leadership just four months ago, Hislop questioned the timing of the decision.

“TTFA’s financial woes have been very public and mushrooming over the last four years. The accounts have been frozen multiple times under the previous administration. Surely all at Concacaf and FIFA were aware of this, even as they continued to funnel money into the Home of Football project,” Hislop said in the expose.

“A legitimate question would be why wasn’t similar action taken by FIFA at that time when the circumstances of the organisation appeared to be most dire? Are we really expected to accept, and believe the explanation that this is about a financial management plan?”

Wallace had defeated incumbent David John Williams, whose Home of Football project had been widely supported by FIFA, at the last election.  Hislop proclaimed the recent move looked like more than a coincidence.

“It’s an easy existence to manufacture if you have the right people in place. FIFA clearly believed they did.

As many in the previous administration cheer this action in an effort to appease and gain their own favour, it should be clear to all, our football was never their primary concern. Their actions since November make that painfully clear,” he added.

“Within days of losing the last election, it’s concerning, at best, that one unsuccessful vice-presidential nominee and former board member issued public pronouncements that FIFA would be installing a normalisation committee.

With FIFA and Concacaf still determined to hold the reins on our regional influence, those relationships are protected and enforced—transparency is to be avoided at all costs.”

The former goalkeeper, who admitted to being hopeful following the appointment of the new Wallace-administration, believes the legal battle to come will not be the end of the issue.

 “Idiocy and power are an awful mix, but can only flourish with our complacency. The upcoming legal tussling is only just beginning, with people either already taking sides or cleverly positioning themselves right in the middle.

Goliath has staked his claim. We’ve all heard this parable before, we’ve lived through one incarnation of it not so long ago.

Should Goliath win this one, our game will not be so forgiving or forgetting of the locals who enabled and cheered this on. I’ll keep trying to find the hope in our game.”

The board of the Trinidad and Tobago Pro League has unreservedly thrown its support behind the decision by football’s world governing body FIFA to take over the running of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA).

After a recent investigation, FIFA took the unusual step of removing the recently appointed TTFA board of directors and replacing it with a normalization committee.  The parent body cited concern over the TTFA’s “low financial management methods” and massive debt. 

FIFA went on to explain that the decision was backed up article 8:2 of the organization statutes that states, "Executive bodies of member associations may under exceptional circumstances be removed from office by the council in consultation with the relevant confederation and replaced by a normalisation committee for a specific period of time."

The decision has expectedly not gone down well with newly appointment president William

Wallace, who called the move an attempted coup.  The body has vowed to explore its legal options by taking the matter to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).  It will not have the support of the Pro League board.

“The Board of the TT Pro League has unanimously accepted the decision by FIFA to establish a Normalization Committee to steer the financial and statutory affairs of the Trinidad & Tobago Football Association,” the Pro League board said via a press release.

“As a football company that have invested over two hundred million dollars into the national economy over the last 18 years, the TT Pro League stand ready to work alongside the Ministry of Sports and the FIFA appointed Normalization Committee for the continued development of the game,” it went on.

“We have instructed our representative on the former TTFA Board, Mr Brent Sancho, that the TT Pro League will not support any move by the former administration to engage in any legal battle against FIFA over their removal from office."

The official who will make up the normalization committee are yet to be announced, or the time period it will maintain the affairs of the football body.

The William Wallace-led Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) is challenging FIFA’s decision to appoint a normalisation committee in a move that could see the matter appear the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

They have retained the services of noted attorneys Dr Emir Crowne and Matthew Gayle of New City Chambers to represent them in this regard.

"The current executive of the TTFA intends to challenge FIFA's appointment of a normalisation committee to oversee the affairs of the association and will seek whatever provisional measures are available to it to maintain the status quo until the matter is fairly adjudicated," Dr Crowne confirmed to Sportsmax.TV on Wednesday.

Wallace unseated David John-Williams at the TTFA elections held in November 2019 after a contentious campaign over several issues, including the handling of the FA’s financial affairs. However, just months later the new leadership have found themselves facing the scrutiny of the world governing body, who have decided to intervene.

In a letter sent by FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura, TTFA General Secretary Ramesh Ramdhan, FIFA outlined their concerns about the financial status of the TTFA.

FIFA said its fact-finding mission found, among other concerns, that the “overall condition of financial management and financial governance extremely low or non-existent at the TTFA.

“There are currently no formal internal policies and internal controls in place, such as procurement, the delegation of financial authorities, financial planning and budgeting, effective oversight of funding and management reporting, which are necessary to meet the TTFA’s objectives.”

FIFA also said there is a lack of documented policies and procedures, financial planning and management of statutory liabilities adding that there no short or long-term plan to address the “urgent” situation.

Going further, FIFA expressed the concern that given the situation along with the USD$5.5m debt, the TTFA “faces a very real risk of both insolvency and illiquidity if corrective measures are not applied urgently.”

As such, the normalisation committee has been mandated to run the daily affairs of the TTFA, establish a debt repayment plan that is implementable by the TTFA, as well as review and amend the TTFA statutes and ensure their compliance with FIFA statutes and requires before submitting them to the TTFA Congress for approval.

The committee will also organize and conduct elections of a new TTFA executive for a four-year term.

 

 

 

 

 

A long-running dispute between the Trinidad and Tobago (TTFA) and radio commentator Selwyn Melville over ownership and rights to the ‘Soca Warriors’ brand has come to an end with a settlement.

Melville and the administration have battled for the better part of 15-years over the right to the trademark.  The commentator insists he coined the nickname in 1998 during a senior men’s match.

 With various administrations failing to come to an agreement with Melville on the issue.  The newly appointed Williams Wallace association has reportedly, however. come to an agreement that is expected to see both parties benefit financially.

“There was a matter in the court for probably over 15 years – the Selwyn Melville matter (concerning) the issue of Soca Warriors trademark...when we look at everything, the FA just had absolutely no evidence to claim the trademark, there was nothing,” Williams told Trinidad and Tobago Newsday.

 “At this point in time, we are drawing up an arrangement to go forward with Selwyn Melville, who has claimed the trademark, for profit-sharing from the trademark between Selwyn and of course the FA.”

 

Sacked head coach of the Trinidad and Tobago men’s national team, Dennis Lawrence, will be replaced as early as next weekend to give the new boss time to help the side prepare for a two-legged CONCACAF Gold Cup playoff against either Guyana or Barbados.

The next FIFA match window is in March of 2020, giving the new coach just three months between the first acid test and turning the fortunes of the Soca Warriors around.

Trinidad and Tobago are in freefall at the moment, winning just one game in 2019 and currently lie at 104th in the world, just a few ranking places above its lowest all-time position.

A statement from the William Wallace-led Trinidad and Tobago Football Association on Sunday confirmed the sacking of the 45-year-old coach, who has been in charge of the national team since January 2017.

According to reports coming out of Trinidad and Tobago, the TTFA’s board had a nine-hour meeting Saturday at the Ato Boldon Stadium. It was at that meeting that the decision was taken to relieve the coach of his duties.

The TTFA’s statement said Lawrence’s representatives and the board will meet to determine the terms of his departure.

Under Lawrence, Trinidad played 31 matches. They won five, drew seven and lost 19 for a win percentage of 16.13 per cent.

In those matches, TT scored 36 goals while conceding 53.

Despite that poor record, Lawrence may be another in a long list of coaches to be owed significant amounts by the TTFA.

The coach had two years left on his contract and had delayed signing that contract until a performance clause for his sacking was removed.

The clause had said Lawrence had to maintain an annual success rate of 40 per cent while dropping no more than six points in the FIFA rankings.

Lawrence has overseen a 20-point drop in the rankings stemming from 795 days without winning a competitive game.

It is not yet known who the William Wallace-led Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) have been considering as replacement for Lawrence, but when the former T&T defender was given the job, Stephen Hart, Terry Fenwick and Stuart Charles-Fevrier were the names on the shortlist.

Hart recently said the job was not one he would consider under the circumstances that existed in Trinidad & Tobago.

Former Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) president and Port of Spain Mayor, Raymond Tim Kee is dead.

The 71-year-old Tim Kee, passed on Sunday at his Flagstaff home after a long ailment, leaving the football fraternity in mourning.

TTFA President William Wallace issued condolences to the family, saying he had lost, not just a colleague in football, but a friend.

“He was a good human being who cared for his fellow men. As an administrator, he never micromanaged but instead allowed guided initiative. He had the game at heart and was one of those persons who hurt over the last couple years,” said Wallace in an interview with T&T website Wired868.

Wallace was the National Senior Team manager during Tim Kee’s term in office.

“I salute the memory of an exceptional man who I knew as a voice of reason. My heartfelt sympathy condolences to his entire family,” he said.

Wallace’s comments were made on the back of a TTFA statement, which also issued condolences, remembering Tim Kee as a kind-hearted man, ‘devoted and committed to serving his country the best way he could.’

Tim Kee took over presidency of the TTFA in 2012 after Jack Warner was forced to resign amidst a US investigation into corruption within FIFA that implicated him.

Tim Kee’s presidency saw a resurgence of the Soca Warriors but also an increasingly troubling financial situation. Constant squabbles with his board over those financial issues led to his eventual ousting in 2015 by recently deposed president, David John-Williams.

Trinidad and Tobago Super League president, Keith Look Loy, as well as Strike Squad captain Clayton Morris have also expressed their condolences.   

‘Thoroughly disappointed’ is how Trinidad and Tobago Pro League chairman Brent Sancho described the news that no team from the Pro League will take part in CONCACAF competition for the second season running.

 Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) board member Selby Brown has insisted the body must move quickly to address an avalanche of financial issues, which threatens to drag the association into insolvency.

Brown, who previously served as a first vice president under the David John-Williams administration, failed in his bid to get re-elected as second vice president’s position in Sunday’s elections, losing to United TTFA candidate Clynt Taylor.

With the association facing debts in the region of $US 7,108,608, in a large part due to a culmination of several lawsuits, Brown insisted that the new administration must hit the ground running.

“The delegates have spoken and that democracy must be respected, and I wish the United TTFA visionaries well. Most of those who served the previous regimes were the ones who incurred the huge debt of the TTFA of some $TT40 million and celebrated the added two judgments in the amount of $TT8.4 million last week. That does not include a further $TT15 million that Mr. Jack Warner claims is owed to him by the TTFA and confirmed by TTFA President Raymond Tim Kee in a letter dated November 2015,” Browne to insideworldfootball.

The former vice president insisted that as well as the administrative issue, there were issues to solve off the field as well.

“The vote by delegates for the United TTFA is No problem. They all intend to get billions from NIKE. Did they ask themselves the question: Why would a brand associate itself with a team that lost 14 out of 15 games?  What exactly is the benefit to the brand? Unless the United TTFA plans to provide Nike with a new slogan; ‘Wear NIKE and Lose’,” he continued.

“I look forward to the TTFA urgently receiving the promised Nike sponsorship millions to avoid the TTFA from being declared bankrupt or avoiding insolvency.”

William Wallace is the new president of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) after he unseated controversial former boss, David John-Williams in an election at the weekend. The question is, what next?

Former head coach of Trinidad and Tobago’s Senior team Stephen Hart is coy on whether he would coach that country’s team again if there was a change of administration in the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation on Sunday.

Former Trinidad and Tobago coach Stephen Hart said he was happy with Tuesday’s High Court TT$5million ruling because he felt cheated by the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association, who fired him from his head coaching job after three and half years in charge and at a critical stage of the 2018 World Cup campaign.

The TTFA fired Hart in November 2016 during the Hexagonal Round of the 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign after the national team suffered consecutive losses to Costa Rica and Honduras.

Many, including Hart, saw the dismissal as unjust given that the head coach had led the team to knockout stages of the 2013 campaign and 2015 Gold Cup competitions. TT topped their Gold Cup group in 2015.

 During his 43-match tenure in charge of TT Hart had a record of 16 wins, 12 draws and 15 losses.

 He sued the TTFA citing wrongful dismissal a claim that the association did not contest. On Tuesday, Justice Eleanor Donaldson-Honeywell, in a default judgement ordered the TTFA to pay the Canada-based coach $5million (approximately USD$739,000).

 “Obviously, I am pleased with the court ruling. It was, in my view, so unnecessary, mainly because I thought that at least I should have been given the opportunity to finish what we started. My staff and myself had worked very hard to bring the team to a certain point; we were already in the Hex, and of course, we were not allowed to do so,” Hart told Sportsmax.TV on Friday from his home in Canada, where he now serves as General Manager of HFX Wanderers in the Canadian Premier League.

 “Winning a judgment is one thing and collecting is something else completely, but really and truly it was not about the money, it was about doing a job for Trinidad and Tobago football, trying to bring some joy back to the game and the people who love the game and I just felt a little bit cheated out of that.”

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