By Paul Nicholson
November 27 – News that banned former Concacaf president and FIFA vice president Jack Warner, still battling extradition to the US to face corruption and embezzlement charges, is likely to be the first financial beneficiary of the new Trinidad and Tobago FA (TTFA) administration has sparked furious reaction across the Caribbean and fears for the future of the TTFA internally.
It is reported that new president William Wallace (pictured) said that one of his first orders of business would be to settle the dispute with Warner that the previous administration had refused to acknowledge.
But the key question is whose money will Wallace use to pay the TT$15 million ($2.3 million) claimed by Warner? Warner was a supporter of Wallace’s campaign (under the TTFA United banner) who reportedly lobbied voters behind the scenes despite his life ban from football.
The Wallace campaign stated that they had commitments of US$30 million from international sponsors alone, with Nike expected to outfit national teams and set up a store at one of the four main stadia in the country.
It is a concern that has prompted TTFA board member Selby Browne to comment that the new TTFA President will need to immediately bring the US $30 million sponsorship funds to settle the TTFA debt of some TT$48 million in order to address the insolvency of the Football with the mounting pressure of the TT$48 million debt of the organisation.
“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 (prior to the David John-Williams’ presidency) who were the ones who incurred the huge debt of the TTFA of some $40 million and celebrated the added two judgements in the amount of $8.4 million last week. That does not include a further $15 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,” said Browne.
He also stated, “it is my humble view that any right thinking TTFA delegate attending the AGM would have considered the question of addressing the solvency of the Football Association a major priority before casting their vote.
“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.”
Browne, who stood unsuccessfully for election to the presidency of the TTFA in 2015 but was subsequently brought on to the TTFA board, stood for the second vice president’s position in Sundays elections, losing to United TTFA candidate Clynt Taylor.
“How well I recall that FIFA sent in their team to meet with the Board of the TTFA in March to address the major hurdle of the TTFA debt which was then TT$40 million. At that time I provided the FIFA delegation with recommendations with respect to the debt, and the annual operating cost, both short and long term. The FIFA delegation agreed to have the proposal reviewed after which the solution would be determined,” said Browne.
“I expect that this new United TTFA administration has all the answers for the liquidation of that huge debt and expect when FIFA enquires about their plans to address the insolvency of the TTFA that the United TTFA answers are forthcoming and robust enough to withstand any possible consideration of the appointment of a FIFA Normalisation committee.”
However, he also points out the failure of the United TTFA delegates to attend the opening of the new House of Football and which they now have control of, was potentially a big mistake that could return to haunt them. That opening ceremony was attended by FIFA president Gianni Infantino, Concacaf president Victor Montagliani and TT prime minister Keith Rowley – essentially the funding partners for the new centre, and ultimately the only people who can access funds to get the TTFA’s new leadership out of their financial crisis.
Browne suggested that the new leadership are inadvertently fast tracking the organisation towards FIFA intervention and a normalisation committee.
“It is certain that the United TTFA members who snubbed the FIFA President last Monday at the opening of the Home of Football by the Honourable Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, and CONCACAF President, who have now taken charge of the TTFA will approach the FIFA Representatives shortly to explain their plans to address the insolvency of the TTFA, or better, indicate reasons why a Normalisation Committee should not be immediately appointed.”
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