The elegant twin towers that decorate the POS horizon are both the same height.  If one is looking at them from the west one looks taller than the other; to the observer from the east one also looks taller than the other except that if both persons compare notes there will be an argument as to which tower is taller. It is a matter of perspective.

The issue arises when perspectives are being peddled as facts and more so when there is an attempt to use these “FACTS” to reshape an individual’s character.

Mistakes are a fact of life. It is the response that counts.

Leadership is about being humble enough to admit your mistake.

When a story broke on Sportsmax that the salary signed off on Terry Fenwick’s contract is not what we agreed on.  My initial thoughts were that Terry unilaterally changed the terms of his contract.  In an attempt to get clarity on the situation, an easy solution was put forward; throw Terry under the bus.

Mistakes can be made, but to throw someone under the bus is deliberate and does not come naturally to me.

Further discussions revealed, for the first time to me at least, the details of the negotiations in finalizing the contract.  My understanding then and still is that the terms in the contract that came under scrutiny were indeed part of the final settlement but the MISTAKE was that they should not have been reflected in the final TTFA contract.  I admitted then that a mistake was made and that it would be corrected.

  Mistakes are a fact of life. It is the response that counts.

 Leadership is about being humble enough to admit your mistake.

Even with this explanation, the matter refused to die and the narrative changed to one that said, the President unilaterally changed the terms of the contract and this narrative was given more life when a member of my own team endorsed it.

The facts are as follows:

  • I played absolutely no role in the negotiation of Fenwick’s contract. This negotiation was left entirely in the hands of the Technical Committee
  • Two emails were sent to me by the GS on Tuesday, December 17th, while I was in Qatar. The Subject: Adjusted terms and conditions.

 In one email the GS indicated that there was agreement on the final terms of the contract.   The attachment in the email indicated a salary of USD 20,000.

 

The second email forwarded was from Peter Miller to Keith Lookloy.  Details of the second email are as follows;

 

Dear Keith,

After much discussions, a revised position has been arrived at which is attached for your information prior to our discussions on Thursday. Please feel free to give feedback in order to arrive at a firm position given the urgency of the matter.

Kind regards.  

The attachment in this email indicated a salary of USD 20,000.

 

  • I assumed that the final terms would have been sent by the negotiating team to the attorney to prepare the contract.
  • When the contract came back to me and was handed over by my General secretary for signing there were no red flags.
  • I signed the contract believing that the terms therein were agreed on with my negotiating team.

Questions:

 Were the terms agreed on at the end of the negotiations and sent to the attorney for the preparation of the contract altered?  If the answer is yes then the action could not be ascribed to me, since I played absolutely no part in the process but just signed off on the product.

If the answer is no; Is it that clear directions were not given to the attorney as to what should have been put into the contract?

How could it then be concluded and supported by persons who are aware of the facts that the President changed the terms of Terry Fenwick’s contract?

General Secretary

I move to the other issue and that is the Ramesh Ramdhan’s contract.  As one Senior Counsel puts it; “from reviewing the TTFA constitution it seems as though the General Secretary is the sole responsibility of the President.  The discussion with the Board is merely a courtesy”

Even without this interpretation, I acted based on my own interpretation of the constitution, along with common sense and logic.  My condemnation in this matter was based merely on the persons who were speaking the loudest and fuelled by their own agenda.

Nowhere in the constitution speaks to the Board drawing up the terms and conditions of the GS.  The Board role is to appoint or dismiss the GS on the proposal of the President.  Ramdhan was proposed to the Board and the Board agreed to his appointment.  A suggestion was made by a Board member that the length of the contract be one year, and I say a suggestion because the Board is not empowered to draw up the terms of the GS contract.  If this power is ascribed to the Board it means that all the other terms of the contract should have been drawn up by the Board and not just the length of the contract.

Just to draw on a bit of logic, if in my discussions with Mr Ramdhan, he refused a one-year contract, is it that I had to search until I find someone who agreed with the proposed one year.  

 Even with that said, the reason for giving the General Secretary a two-year contract was not shrouded in any conspiracy and is in fact more than reasonable. Factors such as the two years contract agreed on for the National Senior team staff; the role the GS had to play in the role out of the activities of the FA, and average term given to previous secretaries were all taken into consideration. 

As one of the framers of the constitution said in a recent article, once the decision was made and taken back to the Board, the Board had to accept. This position is consistent with the Senior Counsel who indicated it’s a matter of courtesy. Unfortunately, the courtesy to the Board was curtailed by the Covid19 shutdown.  Just to note the GS has never been paid. 

Did the President preparation of General Secretary’s contract, based on the interpretation of the constitution unilaterally change the terms of the General Secretary contract?

Unfortunately, the two acts above were responsible for my team making a statement that they have lost confidence in me. Even more unfortunate this position was made public before I was given the chance to be heard. The team has since met and recommitted to moving forward.

  Peter Miller

As part of the United TTFA, I was initially asked to consider leading the group but refused to commit. The major reason given for my noncommittal was the financial state of the TTFA.  I reasoned that the only way that I am committing is if there is a plan to deal with the debt.  During this period, my deceased friend, Raymond Timkee shared with me a very impressive commercial package designed for the TTFA, that was negotiated on his behalf, and which would be implemented if he was elected president. In that package was a plan to deal with the historic debt of the FA, and of course, that piqued my interest.  I was also introduced to the name, Peter Miller.

 Based on Mr Timkee’s failing health he eventually asked me to go forward with the plan. The package was presented to the other members United TTFA and they were all impressed.

I gave my word to Peter Miller that if I was elected president, I will honour the agreement that he had with Timkee. The truth is Peter Miller’s package/presentation was responsible for us winning the elections, our campaign was based on its content and we were heavily dependent on its successful rolling out after November 24th.

Post-November 24th, Peter Miller indicated that he needed an agreement before he moves forward to firm up the pre-election letters of intent. This was not an unreasonable request; however, it presented a dilemma for me to find a way to transition the un-official arrangement with the United TTFA to the TTFA.  Settling this quickly was made even more urgent since by then, we realised that the situation that we met in the FA was even more dire than we expected and that we had to depend on Miller to deliver.

The GS and I tried to find a way to navigate the situation, but the options were few.  The only workable decision open to us at that time was the one I took and that is a decision to sign an agreement with Miller.

I took this decision as leader of the team and decided not to burden anyone else with it.

Was there an inherent risk? Yes, but there are times when you have little choice.

Agreement

  • Miller position was that no changes be made to the original agreement with Raymond Timkee, however, my suggestion to Miller was that the flat rates quoted as a monthly salary would have to be reflected as a percentage of what was delivered and that there were no issues if instead of lumpsum payments the disbursement was done monthly.

It did not matter to me what the percentage was because the numbers were already agreed on with Raymond and I gave my word before the elections that I will honour the agreement.  In addition, my own philosophy is that we had nothing so whatever came in would be more than we had.

  • Via email, Miller asked if any part of FIFA funding could be used for marketing. The GS responded via mail that FIFA Forward funding cannot be used for in any way. (emails available)

The Plan

  • To sign a letter of intent since any binding contract of this nature has to be approved by the Board. The intent, of course, was to make sure that Miller remained on board and what we campaigned and depended on could still be delivered.
  • Payment to Miller would come from what he brings to the table so there is no direct risk to the TTFA
  • We get the Board to agree in principle that we have to outsource marketing. The Board did agree.
  • The roll-out of the sponsorship was carded for June. Once the successful roll-out commenced, a recommendation would have been taken to the Board to officially contract Miller as the marketing person.

Conclusion

  • Since entering office, no action taken by me brought any personal benefits to me, my intentions were that TTFA would always be the beneficiary.
  • A major part of our relationship with Miller was the proposed project to finally eliminate the historic debt of the FA. Everyone would agree that this has to be addressed.
  • A headline in Wired868 that said I lied, was unfortunate. When asked if Peter Miller had a contract with the TTFA, in an attempt to manage an ongoing situation, I answered no. Well, technically the answer was correct, but I do not want to hide behind any technicality and in retrospect, the answer could have been… I would respond to the question at a later date.

 

  Mistakes are a fact of life. It is the response that counts.

 Leadership is about being humble enough to admit your mistake

Of major importance is that even though these matters may have originated inhouse, there is a very important reason why they are playing out like this in the public domain. In the coming weeks, the picture would be made much clearer.

Thank you.

Power is the ability to direct or influence the behaviour of others or the course of events. Transparency in governance focuses on honesty and openness. Question; is it that when one gets power it clouds their ability to be transparent? 

FIFA’s latest football rankings published this week listed the Caribbean powerhouse Trinidad and Tobago at 105th in the world, their second-lowest in history.

A Normalization Committee appointed by FIFA is charged with sorting out dire financial and administrative affairs of the TT Football Association (TTFA) but will the virus that has seen the regional giants plummet to their lowest levels all-time be tackled as well in this process?

The eight-time Caribbean Football Union (CFU) champions have now spent a 10th consecutive month outside the world’s top-100.

The last time T&T’s Soca Warriors were the top-rated Caribbean team on the FIFA Coca-Cola Rankings was October 2016. From 65th in the world three and a half years ago, they have steadily plunged to embarrassing levels, not good enough for a football programme that had long been regarded as the best in the Caribbean.

Absorbed in a political football power war in the past year that included acrimonious election campaigning and subsequent unseating of David John-Williams (DJW) as President, T&T’s football results have been ghastly.

The Coronavirus has dismantled all sporting schedules globally and maybe it’s a good thing for T&T’s football since the inactivity may have eased their fans from some more painful match results.

Former England international and 1986 World Cup defender Terry Fenwick is the new head coach, replacing Dennis Lawrence and the straight-talking ex-defender’s job is likely to be negatively impacted by the current administrative turmoil.

Indeed, there are already media reports of heated exchanges Fenwick has had with the Technical team over dissatisfaction with efforts to sort out passports for foreign-born players being targeted for T&T representation.

T&T’s football fraternity is divided over FIFA’s intervention that sidelined last November’s elected executive, whose attorneys Matthew Gayle and Dr Emir Crowne have now gone to the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) in an effort to annul FIFA’s intervention.

FIFA’s track record globally clearly indicates they are powerful enough and have the right to intervene in any of its 211 affiliates’ administrative affairs if they are deemed not to be following the FIFA Statutes -- rules and regulations – that they themselves have signed to.

Opponents of the FIFA intervention in T&T reason that it was indecently done, given the fact the new executive had only been in place for three months, trying to tackle massive financial problems that were largely inherited.

The fact that serious financial problems existed when John-Williams was boss and FIFA did not intervene, begs the question why didn’t they at the time? The answer is fairly obvious. John-Williams has a good relationship with the FIFA President Gianni Infantino and profited from FIFA’s support and understanding.

Days ahead of the November 24, 2019 TTFA elections, Infantino attended the glitzy opening of John-Williams’s biggest project, the “Home of Football” in Couva and he praised DJW as a leader displaying “wisdom and vision” with the project the FIFA President said represented “an investment in the future”.

Unruffled that T&T were just coming off setting all-time records for longest losing streak, winless streak and run of games without scoring, Infantino downplayed results in a SportsMax interview with George Davis, declaring firmly that when there is a heavy investment in stability with an eye for future development it was wrong to make a “sporting result (loss)” become a “tragedy” or a “catastrophe”.

Asserting obvious support for DJW’s team ahead of the TTFA Elections, Infantino defended the Home of Football investment as a building tool for the country’s football. “You need to build, you need to be stable … and that’s exactly what has been done and then the results will come because of the seriousness of the investment. We have now a solid foundation in this so that football can grow and be built and I am sure this will happen in the future with John-Williams,” Infantino said.

Infantino’s “future with John-Williams” narrative was ruined by DJW’s 26-20 loss to William Wallace’s men at the TTFA polls and I suspect that as far as FIFA is concerned, the wrong men are in charge.

A FIFA/CONCACAF audited study of the TTFA’s Finances in February apparently triggered the move to step in and remove the elected officials even though General Secretary Ramesh Ramdhan had reported to local media then that the mission was favourable and that FIFA were on their side.  

Leadership of major sporting organisations has long been about politics and power and football presidency at the global and confederation levels perfectly illustrate this.

I attended a few Caribbean Football Union (CFU) congress sessions that were open to the media during Jack Warner’s reign and saw the God-like sway he held over his subjects as a FIFA Vice-President and the CONCACAF Chief.

With that power, also came freedom to make unobstructed decisions, especially in a FIFA culture fashioned by Joao Havelange that while financially flourishing always had integrity question marks.

Brazilian Havelange, widely considered Warner’s mentor, enjoyed a 24-year reign -- before Sepp Blatter took over in 1998 – that boasted exponential football growth while never entertaining opposition. History shows you don’t fight FIFA and win so the odds are heavily against the relegated TTFA executive challenging this move by FIFA.

In the meantime, T&T’s football fans deserve more from their national team. Their October 2010 ranking of 106th in a brief sojourn outside FIFA’s top-100 almost 10 years ago, is the only ever weaker ranking position than they have now. Heading for a whole year outside FIFA’s top-100 as they are now, is unheard of in T&T’s glamorous football history.

How and when will the turnaround happen? Fenwick did not make it as a manager in his native England, but has had success in T&T, copping Pro League titles with Central FC (twice) and San Juan Jabloteh. He knows the T&T landscape well enough but appears short on the kind of talent that has propelled T&T’s International programme in the past.

Normalisation Committee chairman Robert Hadad, Judy Daniel and Nigel Romano along with the yet-to-be-named others on a five-member panel will have a tough job resuscitating T&T’s football, especially in this contentious climate fraught with bitterness and legal dispute.

The Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) is the most powerful sporting body in the world and it should be.

FIFA is in control of 211 football associations throughout the world, in a sport that is the most popular and profitable on the globe.

However, the association hasn’t always used that power in the most judicious ways and recently went through a harrowing couple of years with evidence of widespread corruption beating down on its reputation.

Many bans and jail sentences later, FIFA has tried to change its image with new, progressive bosses with a more inclusive management style.

But, in truth, FIFA is a fiefdom and that was made very clear in the events in Trinidad and Tobago over the last week.

The Trinidad and Tobago Football Association’s (TTFA) board does not exist anymore and its president, scratch that, former president, looks set for a lengthy legal battle to change that.

I do not want to get into the who is right and who is wrong, even though there are questions FIFA should answer.

Here are the facts as we know them.

An arm of FIFA called the Bureau of the FIFA Council investigated the financial affairs of the TTFA, which had just gone through the process of electing a new president in William Wallace just over three months before.

According to the council’s findings, the TTFA was in bad shape financially, so bad, that it risked the possibility of insolvency if the situation were not arrested.

Further, the council says it found that there was no plan to assuage the situation, leading it to replace the TTFA’s board with a normalization committee that would be in place for a maximum of two years after which it would hold elections to create a new board with its own mandate.

On an interim basis, FIFA installed former TTFA Finance Manager Tyril Patrick to oversee the day-to-day activities of the organization before the normalization committee could be properly vetted, organized and begin to work.

According to FIFA, that normalization committee would be given a mandate to:

  • Run the TTFA’s daily affairs;
  • Establish a debt repayment plan that is implementable by the TTFA;
  • Review and amend the TTFA Statutes (and other regulations where necessary) and to ensure their compliance with the FIFA Statutes and requirements before duly submitting them for approval to the TTFA Congress;
  • Organise and conduct elections of a new TTFA executive committee for a four-year mandate.

 

But today, the TTFA has no direction as interim boss, Patrick, declined the position after lawyers for Wallace wrote to him, calling his appointment illegal, or at the very least unconstitutional.

In fact, the former TTFA boss has not taken his ousting lying down and is contemplating taking his grouses to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, pointing out that FIFA has ignored his plans to get the TTFA out of debt and is claiming prejudice against his administration, pointing first up to the timing of the ‘coup d’etat’ and the implications of a friendship with the TTFA’s previous boss, as well as inconsistencies regarding a FIFA-TTFA joint project dubbed ‘The Home of Football’.   

I won’t look at any of that, however. I am more interested in the entrenched laws that allow FIFA to make a decision of this nature.

Caribbean Football Union (CFU) president, Randy Harris sympathises with the ousted TTFA administration but believes FIFA well within their rights to install a normalization committee.

Harris is right because of article 8.2 of the FIFA statute.

Article 8.2 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’.

It is here that I have a problem though.

I suppose, FIFA, as arbiters of the sport, must have in its bylaws, appropriate actions to ensure the continued growth of the sport throughout the world, but I find this article distasteful.

The article admits that the council is removing an ‘Executive’ body which has been duly elected by administrators of the sport within a country. This means, FIFA is saying it reserves the right to ignore the democracy of an entity when it has a mind to do so.

I say ‘has a mind’, because it is the council who decides what is an ‘exceptional circumstance’ and in this instance, it very well might be. But the fact that it is FIFA making this judgement, is problematic.

Each Member Association has elections and it is there that they decide if the fate of their organization can be managed by its leaders. It should certainly not be as easy as it was for FIFA to overturn that decision.

It means, in essence, if a Member Association does not operate its own affairs just the way FIFA says it should, and each country has a different set of circumstances to deal with that could mean varying ways of operating such affairs, then you could find that you have no say.

Harris pointed to this fact in a radio interview with Trinidad and Tobago’s i955 FM’s ISports radio, saying “The Trinidad and Tobago FA has found itself in a sad situation which all of us in the Caribbean could be in tomorrow.”

Therein lies my problem. This particular ‘takeover’ may very well be warranted with the TTFA in debt to the tune of TT$50 million, the question is, who decides this, and how can it be that ‘little’ Member Associations have no say in deciding whether or not they need outside help?

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.”

Former England defender, coach of Central FC and San Juan Jabloteh in the Trinidad and Tobago (T&T) Pro League, Terry Fenwick, has been named the head coach of the twin-island republic’s senior football team, the Soca Warriors.

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.

Dennis Lawrence has been fired as head coach of the Trinidad and Tobago national senior team with immediate effect.

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.

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?

William Wallace, president of the Secondary Schools Football League (SSFL), defeated incumbent David John-Williams to become new Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) boss, at the Home of Football in Couva, on Sunday.

It took two rounds of voting, but in the end, Wallace received 26 votes to John-William’s 20.  The first round of voting ended with no candidate able to get enough of the votes from the 46 delegates allowed to take part in the process.  The number needed to win the election was 24.  Wallace led with 20 votes, John-Williams had 16 and Richard Ferguson had 10.  Ferguson was as a result eliminated from the contest.  In the second round, it seems six of Ferguson’s supporters voted for Wallace and the remaining four selected John-Williams.

The election result marked the end of a stormy tenure for John-Williams, who was often accused by his detractors of leading an authoritarian administration that lacked transparency.  The venue for the elections, the Home of Football, had long been held up as the crowning achievement of the John-Williams association and one of the main reasons it should have been handed a second term.  The argument, it seems, did not resonate well enough with the voters.

In the vice-presidential contest, Clynt Taylor defeated Selby Browne 27-17 to claim the position of first vice-president.  Taylor is the Central FA general secretary while Browne, a member of John-Williams’ Team Impactors slate, is the interim president of the Veteran Footballers Foundation of Trinidad and Tobago (VFFOTT).

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