I HAVE watched with interest, listened attentively and read closely over the past two to three months about all that is happening in Trinidad and Tobago football and disappointedly it is all off the pitch mainly because of COVID-19 and the appointment of a Normalisation Committee by FIFA on the TTFA.
This is an open letter to all Trinidad and Tobago citizens whether you live here in T&T or abroad, but more specifically directed to William Wallace, Keith Look Loy, Ramesh Ramdhan, David John-Williams Tyril Patrick Robert Hadad, and the journalists and sportswriters who have been following, writing, reporting and commenting recently on all the happenings in our football in the last three months, namely Andre Baptiste, Colin Murray, Keith Clement, Ian Prescott, Garth Wathley Walter Alibey, Lasana Liburd and Mark Bassant to a lesser extent.
In my humble opinion, the major problem in our football over the years is money or should I say the lack of it, but more importantly the debt of the TTFA over the years. What is the current true debt of the football association and who is responsible for it being what it is?
FIFA has said TT$37M (US$5.5M); William Wallace, Keith Look Loy, Ramesh Ramdhan have all said that the debt was $50M when David John-Williams (DJW) left office. More importantly they all have claimed that when he came into office in November 2015 the debt was $16M.
John-Williams had boasted during the run-up to the elections in November 2019 that his administration paid down about $12M in debt which was related to the previous Tim Kee and other TTFA administrations.
If all this is true then his administration was responsible for increasing the debt by a staggering $46M. This amount supposedly includes an amount of $1.9M owed to contractors and suppliers related to the Home of Football Project as reported by the United TTFA and more recently by investigative reporter Mark Bassant.
Bear in mind, the debt of $50M does not include an amount Jack Warner is claiming of $22M from the TTFA which he says is owed to him by the association.
I have been hearing all sorts of talk and discussions in the public domain as to how the debt got to $50M. In fact I am hearing it is really about $57M not including Warner’s $22M. The truth of the debt needs to be known by all who have the interest of the game at heart in this country. There is a simple solution to all this, if we get the answers to the following questions from the following individuals.
1. If what is being put in the public domain is true could Wallace (Mr Transparency), Look Loy (Mr Justice and Mr Accountability), Ramdhan (the once vocal and supporter of Wallace, who boasted on Andre Baptiste I95.5 programme that he has the figures and details) and Tyril Patrick (The Finance Manager of TTFA) clearly tell us what is the true debt of the TTFA and what was responsible for the debt allegedly being increased by the John-Williams administration by $46M.
2. Could these same persons mentioned above say if there is any truth in the rumour that the debt was increased by over $12M after November 24 2019, in order to provide for a settlement of an alleged claim by former General Secretary Sheldon Phillips (which is rumoured is being investigated by the Fraud Squad) and one Peter Rampersad.
Wallace and company have publicly said that this matter was taken out of court by his administration in order to affect settlement. Also is there any truth that the debt was further increased by a further $4M to cater for payment to coaches who were recently fired by the Wallace administration and that three of these coaches have lodged claims against the TTFA with FIFA?.
3. Mr Wallace, is there any truth that the reason given to the former Women’s coach Stephan De Four for his termination was a lack of money to continue paying him? In the same breath could you and Look Loy confirm claims that it is costing the TTFA $4.5M a year to pay the large technical staff that was hired by your administration? If this is indeed true, then these actions are contradictory at best.
4. During Wallace’s 100-day in office press conference, some key financial achievements were mentioned such as paying outstanding money due to creditors, players, and staff to the tune of over $1.5M.
Could Wallace, Ramdhan and Patrick state where the funding to do this came from? How did the TTFA operate for the period November 25 2019, until the accounts of the TTFA were frozen by the garnishee order taken out by Kendall Walkes and who allegedly collected $300K from the TTFA bank account as a result of that garnishee order?
Did he Wallace give evidence on behalf of Walkes against the TTFA during the court hearing of this matter, as DJW always claimed that the Walkes case was winnable? Could he also tell us whether he received legal advice to appeal the Kendall Walkes matter and, if so, why didn’t he appeal?
5. Could Robert Hadad, John-Williams and Wallace say to us what was the true cost of the Home of Football and how much money did FIFA and CONCACAF give to the TTFA for this purpose? What is the current book value of the assets of the TTFA? John-Williams has been very silent since last November and we need to hear from him to help clear the air on a number of these matters.
6. In light of the public pronouncements made by Wallace, Look Loy and Ramdhan about the large extent of repairs that was needed to be done on the Home of Football and such could cost in excess of $5M, could Hadad tell the Trinidad and Tobago public what was really needed to be done and the cost to fix the Home of Football (which took four days) to allow it to be fully functional and be used as a step-down facility for COVID-19?
The answers to these questions are not difficult. In some cases it is a simple yes or no and in other cases it is just to state a figure. We need the truth. We need answers if all the names mentioned in this article care about Trinidad and Tobago Football. Give us the answers or in the case of the journalist and reporters, find out the answers.
Mark Bassant who seemed to have access to inside information based on his recent article about the debt owed to contractors on the Home of Football may well be in a position to get us some of, if not all the answers. Then so too is Hadad.
The Truth is needed!!!!
Football Believer from San Fernando