By Paul Nicholson
July 18 – Trinidad and Tobago FA president David John-Williams who two weeks caught the ire of his members at the federation’s extra ordinary general meeting, this week could be facing a $600,000 plus lawsuit for failing to pay the Italian coaches of its women’s team.
John-Williams hired Italian Carolina Morace as women’s national senior team coach in what was regarded as a coup for the island. The TTFA is hosting the CONCACAF U-20 women’s championships in January 2018.
However, with wages unpaid for three months, Morace told Wired868, “the contract [is] terminated for just cause.”
Morace and her assistants Nicola Williams, Elisabetta Bavagnoli and Manuela Tesse, were rumoured to cost the TTFA $24,000 per month. According to Wired868.
In March John-Williams said that cost would be funded by CONCACAF. “Don’t get the misconception that we’re contracting coaches and we can’t pay them – we have specific allocations. So therefore the $125,000 US that we get a year from CONCACAF is going to go into the women’s programme,” Wired868 reported.
Unfortunately for John-Williams that money did not arrive in the TTFA accounts, apparently due to a preference for CONCACAF to pay the coaches direct, apparently due to fear that the money might not make it to the coaching team. The situation is particularly embarrassing for John-Williams who was supported actively by CONCACAF Victor Montagliani in his failed bid for the Caribbean Football Union presidency.
Financial integrity issues
The situation with the Italian women’s coaches followed what was a difficult EGM for the TTFA executive that saw it fail to have its accounts approved with a number of other financial questions arising.
The accounts were read out by an auditor to the meeting with no hard copies circulated prompting the membership to reject their authorisation. There was also a failure to elect Judicial and Audit and Compliance bodies as members argued they had not had a chance to review the candidates – John-Williams just read out a list of names to the meeting.
The questions over financial integrity have become increasing uncomfortable for John-Williams’ regime with the Veteran Footballers Foundation of Trinidad and Tobago (VFFTT) led by their president Selby Browne in the vanguard of financial information requests for information on financial management, finance received from FIFA and CONCACAF and the programmes this money has been spent on.
Browne has a right to be suspicious. He suffered losses calculated at millions of dollars from the dubious removal of broadcast rights to the Caribbean Sports Television Network (CSTN) for the 2002 World Cup and other FIFA Events from 1999 to 2002 by FIFA’s then marketing agency Kirch Group. CSTN had already been broadcasting throughout the Caribbean through its national associates, some of which were state broadcasters.
The World Cup rights were then effectively given to then CONCACAF and TTFA president Jack Warner although CSTN had already begun a payment programme.
Attempts to recover losses from FIFA have proved futile, though Browne has given up. It is unlikely he will be duped again when it comes to the financial finagling on his Caribbean island.
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