Following the avalanche of blame that has tumbled on embattled TTFA president William Wallace, in light of FIFA’s ruling to suspend Trinidad and Tobago from world football indefinitely, former national footballer, David Nakhid, insists there are multiple ‘villains’ involved in the case.

Nakhid was quick to point out that he has no sympathy for Wallace because the deposed official “did several things subsequent to his appointment without consulting the board.”

 “A situation like this calls for compromise, it calls for mediation, it calls for some level of consultation between parties and we never had that,” Nakhid said in an interview with the SportsMax Zone.

“What we had was a lot of hotspot meetings and disjointed efforts by parties here and parties there,” he added.  In the mind of the former Soca Warriors captain, however, Wallace was far from the only one deserving of criticism. 

As such, he also turned his attention to the world governing body FIFA, for whom he had some particularly strong words.  He accused the global football organisation of being ‘hypocrites’ and seeing the Caribbean region as just part of a voting bloc and not much else.

“FIFA has always been an organisation that has the Caribbean and by extension Latin America as just a voting bloc.  Basically, we are still indentured labourers to them," he said.

The former Caribbean Footballer of the Year was also critical of leaders of the Caribbean Football Union (CFU), past and present, who he accused of leaving no legacy for the Caribbean and ensuring that the region did not have a genuine voice on the world stage.

 Nakhid launched a longshot bid for the FIFA presidency in 2015 but was disqualified from the race after receiving a double nomination.  At the time, his proposed candidacy never received wide support across the Caribbean, garnering a total of five votes.

On Thursday, FIFA suspended the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) for its failure to withdraw a case that is currently before the High Court of Trinidad and Tobago, within the prescribed timeframe that came after a previous extension.  The ruling will see the twin-island republic immediately deprived of all its rights as a member of FIFA, which comes with other consequences.

Former Trinidad and Tobago Minister of Sports Anil Roberts has lamented what he classifies to be a cause that was destined to be ‘a losing battle’ in wake of FIFA’s recent suspension of the TTFA from world football.

FIFA and the TTFA have been locked in a bitter dispute since March of this year, when the global football governing body appointed a normalisation committee to take over the affairs of the nation’s football, after dissolving the board.  The then four-month-old William Wallace-led executive rejected the move and refused to recognize the committee, framing the actions as an infringement on the country’s sovereignty.

In its letter, however, FIFA pointed to article 8 paragraph 2 of the FIFA Statutes, as giving them the right to appoint a normalisation committee.  The Wallace-led coalition then opted to take the case to the CAS before having issues with the cost of presenting the case and suggesting any ruling would have been biased towards FIFA.  The body instead opted to take the case before the Trinidad and Tobago High Court, a move also prohibited by the FIFA statutes.  In announcing the decision to suspend Trinidad and Tobago from international football on Thursday, FIFA pointed to violations of article 59, which states that;

“Recourse to ordinary courts of law is prohibited unless specifically provided for in the FIFA regulations. Recourse to ordinary courts of law for all types of provisional measures is also prohibited.”

According to Roberts, even if one were to submit to the fact that every argument made by the ousted TTFA officials were correct, they ignored a certain reality.

“There was no other outcome.  So, let us pretend that the TTFA was absolutely right.  Every argument they made, FIFA was being high handed, their decisions were wrong, they were using their power to suppress and oppress Trinidad and Tobago and its organisation.  Every argument was correct.  You still could not win, because the idea is you want to play football and FIFA controls football,” Roberts said in an exclusive interview with the SportsMax Zone.

Since 2003, FIFA has suspended around 24 countries for various disputes and violations of its statutes.  Antigua and Barbuda are the only other Caribbean country suspended during the period.

“We must be realistic in the world we live in.  In the world of sport, whether we like it or not, FIFA owns football.  Anyone who does not understand that is naive or would like to fight a war that cannot be won,” Roberts added.

“FIFA owns football.  Everything we want as a country, as a territory, they control.  Whether it is through their World Cup male and female tournaments or their junior age-group World Cups.  Whether its through their ability to control club football, world club football, Champions League, CONCACAF Gold Cup, opportunities for our young players to get contracts…So this was a losing war from the onset.”

 

  

Lawyers representing United TTFA have applied to the Trinidad and Tobago High Court of Justice seeking permission to withdraw the claims currently before the court regarding their six-month dispute with FIFA.

The move brings to an end William Wallace's case against FIFA in a bid to avoid being suspended from world football by the sports governing body.

The development comes, sources indicate, after there was majority vote against proceeding with the matter before the court, during an informal meeting of the TTFA on Tuesday night. Twenty-one members voted against pursuing the proceedings against FIFA, sources said. Eight voted in favour.

On May 18, lawyers for the William-Wallace executive had filed an application in the Trinidad and Tobago High Court seeking a permanent injunction to prevent FIFA from interfering or seeking to override the “fair and transparent democratic processes of the TTFA and/or preventing them from removing the executive of duly elected officers from office.”

FIFA filed an appeal that was thrown out by Madame Justice Carol Gobin.

In response, FIFA sent letters to the Normalisation Committee currently in charge of the affairs of the TTFA strongly suggesting that the claims be withdrawn.

Failure to do so by September 23, FIFA said, would result in them initiating proceedings to have the TTFA suspended from international football.

 On many a Sunday, I realize that people have looked at the stories they have seen throughout the week with different lenses. I have my own personal take on some of these issues and I will share them with you. Welcome to #INCASEYOUMISSEDIT

 The NBA’S MVP criteria need to be re-visited.

 Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo has been named the NBA's Most Valuable Player for the second successive season after garnering 25 of the 101 first-place votes and 962 points in the voting. Although the award is based on the regular season, the fact that it is awarded during the playoffs makes it potentially contentious. In this case, although Giannis gets the award, his team, the Milwaukee Bucks, have gone home after the Miami Heat eliminated them in the second round of the playoffs.

The decision has raised eyebrows including that of that Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James with some even suggesting that LeBron was robbed of the award based on his overall contribution to his team.

James, who is still in contention to win his fourth NBA title, also alluded to the inconsistencies, “Sometimes it's the best player on the best team. Sometimes it is the person with the best season statistically. Giannis had a hell of a season; I can definitely say that."

The fact that the Lakers are in the Western Conference Finals while Milwaukee barely made it through the playoffs triggered the negative criticisms. Once the criteria for winning the award is consistent and the timing that the award is presented is altered, this will help in ensuring that there is little negative perception. There is a need to change and there needs to be consistency!

Glad to see both the Windies and England women supporting the Black Lives Matter movement.

Taking a knee and wearing the Black Lives Matter logo are more than mere gestures. They are constant reminders and a subtle form of education.

Both the West Indies and England women will wear the Black Lives Matter logo on their playing shirts during the Vitality T20 International (T20I) series that begins on Monday, September 21. The decision was a mutual one taken by players and management based on current situation globally.

 West Indies Women’s captain Stafanie Taylor has been vocal about the cause, accepting that as athletes they have an important role to play in raising awareness of the Black Lives Matter movement. I commend the women, as their actions can be a driving force for education and giving a voice to the voiceless.

 All matches will be played behind closed doors at Derby, where West Indies have been based for the past three weeks.  Monday's series opener will be the first Women's international match since Australia defeated India in the T20 World Cup final in March of this year.

Trinidad and Tobago Football have been reduced to a game of wait and see. 

FIFA has given the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) an extended deadline’ of September 23 to withdraw its claims against it currently before the Trinidad and Tobago High Court of Justice.

Ousted TTFA president William Wallace, who says he has the support of roughly half of the local body’s delegates, has refused to back down.

 On August 26, FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura firmly requested’ that the ‘TTFA former leadership’ withdraw its claim from the local High Court ‘by 16 September 2020 at the latest’. She said then that ‘failure to comply with this directive would result in the commencement of suspension proceedings.

With an extra five days, one can only hope that those involved in the ongoing dispute will act in a manner that will ensure that football wins. Meanwhile, the football-loving public is left sitting on the edge of their seats awaiting the fate of the sport they love. Let us hope good sense prevails!

FIFA has extended its deadline for the TTFA to withdraw all claims against them currently before the Trinidad and Tobago Supreme Court.

FIFA has threatened to ban Trinidad and Tobago from international football should the ousted leadership of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) fail to withdraw their claim currently before the Trinidad and Tobago High Court by September 16.

On May 18, lawyers for the William-Wallace executive had filed an application in the Trinidad and Tobago High Court seeking a permanent injunction to prevent FIFA from interfering or seeking to override the “fair and transparent democratic processes of the TTFA and/or preventing them from removing the executive of duly elected officers from office.”

FIFA filed an appeal that was dismissed by the High Court. The ruling is being appealed by FIFA on the grounds that the judge made several errors in arriving at her decision.

Apparently, increasingly frustrated at being unable to have the dispute resolved, FIFA has now decided to flex their muscles.

In a letter to the head of the Normalisation Committee Robert Hadad on Wednesday, FIFA said it was “extremely concerned regarding the decision of the claim and the arguments used to dismiss FIFA's application. In this context, we draw your attention to art. 59 of the FIFA Statutes, which expressly contains the prohibition of recourse to ordinary courts of law unless specifically provided for.

“FIFA takes such a principle with the utmost seriousness and therefore considers that it is the responsibility of its member associations to ensure that this principle is implemented. We further wish to underline that the failure to meet these obligations may, according to art. 14 par. 4 of the FIFA Statutes, lead to sanctions as provided for in the FIFA Statutes, including a possible suspension.”

FIFA said its primary objective is that TTFA, as member of FIFA, shall mandatorily respect and implement their obligations, provided in the FIFA Statutes and that the aforementioned developments seriously derail the objective.

Football’s governing body insisted that the only recognised path to resolve the ongoing dispute is the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) and requested the TTFA to ask the TTFA former leadership for an immediate withdrawal of the claim at the Trinidad and Tobago High Court by 16 September 2020, at the latest.

It said that failure to comply with this directive would result in the commencement of suspension proceedings via the relevant FIFA bodies.

FIFA lodged an appeal today against the decision of the Trinidad and Tobago High Court to proceed with a claim from the former leadership of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) against the decision of the Bureau of the FIFA Council in March 2020 to appoint a normalisation committee for the TTFA.

FIFA is insisting that the only recognised path to resolve the ongoing dispute is the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS).

On August 13, Justice Carol Gobin ruled that the matter would be heard in the Trinidad High Court of Justice. However, in its notice of appeal, FIFA said the High Court judge erred on several points of law.

Cherie Gopie of Hamel-Smith and Co. who represent FIFA filed the notice of appeal.

Dr Emir Crowne, Matthew Gayle, Jason Jones and Crystal Paul of the New City Chambers represent the TTFA

 

 The Trinidad and Tobago High Court of Justice delivered a blow to FIFA on Thursday when it denied football’s world governing body’s application challenging the jurisdiction of the court to adjudicate the dispute between the parties.

Both sides had submitted arguments before Justice Carol Gobin on July 29.

The TTFA and FIFA have been in dispute since March when FIFA dissolved the association’s administration who were in office four months and installed a normalization committee to oversee the affairs of the debt-ridden association.

TTFA took the matter to the CAS but later withdrew citing fears of institutional bias.

On May 18, lawyers for the William-Wallace executive had filed an application in the Trinidad and Tobago High Court seeking a permanent injunction to prevent FIFA from interfering or seeking to override the “fair and transparent democratic processes of the TTFA and/or preventing them from removing the executive of duly elected officers from office.

The TTFA was represented ly Dr Emir Crowne, Matthew Gayle, Jason Jones and Crystal Paul of the New City Chambers while Fifa was represented Christopher Hamel-Smith SC, Jonathan Walker and Cherie Gopie from M Hamel-Smith and Co.

FIFA now has 21 days to file a defence against an application for an injunction filed by the ousted executive of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA). FIFA has also been ordered to pay costs.

Trinidad and Tobago High Court Justice Carol Gobin will hand down a decision on August 13 whether the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) will be compelled to abide by the arbitration process at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) or whether FIFA will be subject to the jurisdiction of the TT High Court in their ongoing dispute.

The TTFA and FIFA have been in dispute since March when FIFA dissolved the association’s administration who were in office four months and installed a normalization committee to oversee the affairs of the debt-ridden association.

TTFA took the matter to the CAS but later withdrew citing fears of institutional bias.

On May 18, lawyers for the William-Wallace executive had filed an application in the Trinidad and Tobago High Court seeking a permanent injunction to prevent FIFA from interfering or seeking to override the “fair and transparent democratic processes of the TTFA and/or preventing them from removing the executive of duly elected officers from office.

They are also seeking a permanent injunction against FIFA preventing FIFA and/or its agents from interfering with the day-to-day management of the association, including its bank accounts, website and real property.

Attempts at mediation failed when FIFA decided to withdraw citing a lack of confidentiality.

FIFA now wants the court to send the matter back before the CAS.

On Wednesday, the parties appeared before the Honourable Justice Carol Gobin after FIFA filed an application on June 15, 2020, challenging the jurisdiction of the Court to adjudicate on the impending issues between the parties.

The TTFA was represented by attorneys-at-law Dr Emir Crowne, Matthew Gayle, Crystal Paul and Jason Jones of New City Chambers while FIFA was represented by Christopher Hamel-Smith SC, Jonathan Walker and Cherie Gopie of M Hamel-Smith and Co.

Hamel-Smith submitted that the TTFA’s commencement of the proceedings before the TT High Court was an act beyond its legal authority and that the TTFA’s commencement of the proceedings before the TT High Court was done without the due and proper authority of those who purported to do so on behalf of the TTFA.

Hamel-Smith also submitted that proceedings be stayed in favour of arbitration at CAS as agreed between TTFA and FIFA. He also submitted that the permission initially granted to the TTFA to issue and serve the originating documents outside of the jurisdiction be set aside as, among other reasons, electronic service of the documents were contrary to Swiss Law.

However, in submissions for the TTFA, Dr Emir Crowne said the TTFA was created by an Act of the Trinidad and Tobago Parliament and so if the Parliament intended to abdicate its supervision and/or jurisdiction over the TTFA- thereby ousting the jurisdiction of the TT High Court- then the Parliament would have clearly done so.

These submissions were made in support of Dr Crowne’s insistence that the matter before the Court posed far-reaching public policy implications of which the Court should consider.

As it relates to Swiss Law, Dr Crowne indicated that the question should not have any significant relevance since the alleged breaches, torts, property rights and other issues affecting the TTFA are all occurring and have its ultimate effect within Trinidad and Tobago, not Switzerland.

Further, he contended that the FIFA submitted no evidence before the Court to support its assertions regarding Swiss Law and the TTFA’s service of its originating documents outside of Trinidad and Tobago.

Dr Crowne also raised the issue of the institutional bias at CAS and whether there was, in fact, an enforceable agreement between the TTFA and FIFA to arbitrate before the CAS.

He submitted that the decision to be bound by the arbitration clause, as FIFA alleges, cannot be said to have been entered into freely by the TTFA given the drastic consequences to the TTFA of not being affiliated or participating in international football.

It will now come down to Justice Gobin’s decision on August 13.

“The TTFA, perhaps like many other stakeholders of Trinidad and Tobago football, patiently awaits the ruling of the Honourable Court in this Application,” said Jason Jones in a comment to Sportsmax.TV.

Prior to the start of Wednesday’s proceedings, Justice Gobin asked whether the parties would consider Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) methods. The TTFA said it was willing to engage in mediation. However, FIFA reiterated that it remains willing only to engage in arbitration before the CAS.

 

FIFA has withdrawn from mediation with the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) citing the failure of its lawyers to keep the matter confidential.

FIFA has agreed to settle their dispute with the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) through mediation.

I use my Sundays to look back at what has been happening in the world of sport. On many a Sunday, I realise that people have looked at the stories they have seen throughout the week through different lenses. I have my own personal take on some of these issues and I will share them with you. Welcome to #INCASEYOUMISSEDIT.

Let’s not Pressure Cornwall

Former West Indies batsman Philo Wallace in an interview on the Mason and Guest radio show welcomed the inclusion of spinner Rakheem Cornwall in the final match-day squad for the Test tour of England. Wallace described the Antiguan as the “match-winner” and “trump.” In my opinion, Cornwall has immense potential but to call him a match-winner is simply putting too much pressure on the young man who is new to this level and format of the game.

The 27-year-old off-spinner has so far played two Test matches for the West Indies. He took three wickets against India on debut before claiming 10 wickets in his one-off Test against Afghanistan. During the recently concluded practise match in England, Cornwall took one wicket and scored two runs. Is this a sign that he is already feeling the pressure of expectation?

Based on Cornwall’s limited Test-match experience, I would suggest that we allow him time to settle as a member of the Test squad. I strongly believe Test cricket is a completely different level of the game and playing against England will not be a walk in the park as they are at home and hungry for a win.

Chris Gayle Opting out of CPL – A Surprise!

The 2020 Hero CPL will be different without the Universe Boss. As a journalist and a cricket fan, I will miss the energy that he brings to the games although I respect highly his personal decision not to play, especially in light of the COVID 19 pandemic.

Last Monday, Gayle communicated his decision to the St Lucia Zouks by email saying he would be unavailable.

In the email, Gayle pointed out that due to the lockdown he was unable to meet his family and his young child who are in St Kitts because he was in Jamaica. Gayle said he needed a break and wanted to spend time with his young family.

Who can fault the cricketer for this, especially considering the recent turn of events?

Gayle signed up with the Zouks in April after an acrimonious split with Jamaica Tallawahs. Based on the fallout with the Jamaica Tallawahs, I was expecting fireworks from the T20 superstar. I was expecting him to use his frustrations as fuel to score heavily this CPL.

Meanwhile, Gayle's abrupt decision will have disrupted the Zouks' plans for the players' draft, conducted virtually for the first time because of COVID-19 travel restrictions.

The Zouks signed Gayle as one of the marquee players outside the draft in the US $130,000 - 160,000-price bracket. In his absence, the franchise is likely to get the first pick at the draft now.

 Mediation should have been the TTFA's first choice

 Having taken Mediation Studies at the post-graduate level, I believe mediation is a viable option for settling the dispute between FIFA and the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA).

Frankly, I am surprised that it was not utilized earlier. It is cheaper than heading to the courts, especially based on the reported financial situation of the William-Wallace administration finds itself in.

FIFA dissolved the Wallace-led executive on March 17, 2020, less than four months after the latter had been on the job. They were replaced by a normalisation committee led by local businessman Robert Hadad. The committee has been mandated to oversee the affairs of local football and reducing the TTFA’s crippling $50 million debt.

Mediation, though informal and flexible, could play a big part in shaping the outcome of the dispute. In the case of the TTFA, they would be presented with a chance to influence the outcome of the process while getting a listening ear from FIFA.

In addition, at the heart of mediation is the preservation of the long-term relationship between the parties. Should the TTFA have gone this route earlier things may not have been as messy as it is presently.

Congratulations! Well-deserved Liverpool

How can one be upset when a team wins a major title after 30 years of disappointment and frustration?

How can one question a team that has dropped only seven points in 31 matches so far this season? How can one not celebrate a team that has claimed a title with seven games to spare?

Hearty congratulations to the Reds, who might have experienced some anxiety because of the uncertainty of completing the season because of COVID 19. Credit must go the manager Jurgen Klopp, who took over from Brendan Rodgers in 2015 when the team was 10th in the league table. Though it has taken him five years to win English football's biggest prize, Klopp's impact on Liverpool was immediate. "We have to change from doubters to believers,” were his striking words during the press conference where he was introduced as the club’s new manager.

Overall, Liverpool has been a consistent group and as Klopp said, “They are confident because we won, but they are humble. If they stay humble, we have a good chance to be successful.” Congratulations boys!

 

 

 

 

 

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.

The Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) has reached out to lawyers representing FIFA requesting mediation in their dispute over the appointment of a normalization committee in March, Sportsmax.TV sources indicate.

They now await a response from FIFA’s lawyers, Messrs M.Hamel-Smith and Co. indicating whether they will agree to the request.

The William Wallace-led executive was dissolved by FIFA in March and a normalization committee appointed just four months after the TTFA Annual General Meeting in November 2019. FIFA cited poor financial management and the FA’s massive debt as reasons for the appointment of the committee to oversee the association’s affairs.

William Wallace retained the services of Dr Emir Crowne and Matthew Gayle instructing them to take the matter to Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). However, in late May the New City Chambers attorneys were instructed to withdraw the appeal before CAS fearing ‘institutional bias’.

Subsequently, the matter was taken to the Trinidad and Tobago High Court of Justice.

Since then, Wallace has come under increased pressure from his board following revelations relating to three contracts signed with Avec Sports, national coach Terry Fenwick and Ramesh Ramdhan. All three contracts were reportedly signed without the required agreement from board members.

These revelations, first publicized on the the Sportsmax Zone, have turned the board members against the beleaguered president.-S

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